Excerpt from the award-winning series, Destiny by Victoria Saccenti
Book one Destiny's Plan
Matthew glanced out the window and smiled. Night had fallen upon them. He’d lost track of time and forgotten his troubled thoughts thanks to the young woman sitting next to him. Her mirth and exuberance were infectious. She used her hands to speak, creating curious shapes in the air, which he visualized with total enchantment. While the minutes and hours passed imperceptibly, they had covered all sorts of topics, from the weather on the road to his assignment at Fort Benning’s Airborne School. Even the odd color of the lady’s wig two rows ahead didn’t escape their happy commentary. Raquelita was a delicious combination of naïveté and awareness and was delightfully engaged in every word he said. This genuine attention was much needed sustenance for his soul.
“Let’s forget about everyone on the bus,” he said. “Tell me more about you. Where were you born?”
“San Antonio. My parents are from Spain, born on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera.”
“The land of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza,” he said. “A legendary country full of history and romance. I’ve seen pictures and read a ton of books. I hope to visit one day.”
“Gracious, you’ve heard of El Ingenioso?”
“You bet. Don Quixote was a reading elective in school. Darned difficult, but I managed.” Matthew paused for a moment. “Jerez isn’t close to La Mancha, is it?”
“Not at all. Jerez is near the coast in the province of Andalucía, south and west of La Mancha,” she explained, adopting a cute tutorial attitude. “The region is known for its music, historical monuments, its prized sherry wine, and majestic horses.”
“Mysterious Andalucía. The Moors fought so hard to hold it.” His eyebrows gathered as he spoke. “Lorca was from Granada. His poetry was musical and raw in one breath, like The Sleepwalking Ballad, or La Guitarra. It’s a pity he died so young.”
“Yes, a tragic casualty of the Spanish Civil War.” Speaking to Matthew was like sifting through a treasure chest full of surprises, one more enticing than the last. She had the oddest desire to touch him, ensure he was real. “So you know La Guitarra?”
“Oh no. I’m not going to embarrass myself by reciting Spanish.” A faint flush rose on his face. “It’s bad enough I mix up my locations.”
“My father and I used to recite it together.” In her softest voice, she spoke:
Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Es inútil callarla
Es imposible callarla.
Words flowed out of her lips, her fingertips flitted like butterflies, and notes filled Matthew’s ears, full, vibrant, and warm. “You have it, el duende comes to you,” he said.
“Yes. You. I know Lorca’s poems, but I’ve never heard them in Spanish. The genie glimmers on your face and moves through your hands. The music comes to you. He comes to you.”
“How do you know so much? Very few people outside Spain know about the genie, much less feel or hear it.”
“The teacher who helped me survive Don Quixote knew my appreciation of Lorca’s works and lent me several books. One had a lecture Lorca gave in Buenos Aires. It was outstanding. The images Lorca presented inspired the reader’s imagination. He spoke of dark sounds. According to him, el duende is the hidden spirit of a doleful Spain. Please, please say more.”