It´s like I was off to Peru once again and all of a sudden we´re following the railroad tracks straight across Bolivia from the Brazilian border en route to I dunno, Santa Cruz de La Sierra I think.
Guy sitting by my side is a decade-old best friend just fresh into Med School. We have been at odds between ourselves over this girl but it´s all gone now as from where he´s standing even though I haven´t got the whole bitter pill thing swallowed just yet; yet he tells me it´s all gonna be fine.
Despite the boxed protein bars in our backpacks he insisted on buying he´s also insisted on buying the one large bag of the vaguely-peanut-ish nut things in the convenience store at the gas station a few hours ago; he´s been munching on them like there´s no tomorrow and tearing the paper bag apart inch by inch.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“I´m that guy from the X-Files,” he says as he licks another shred of paper and sticks it to the saliva-bound mural of paper scraps he´s been building over the large window besides him. “The one who eats the liver from his victims and hides in nests he creates out of digested paper.”
“That´s so gross.”
“It´s not. It´s cool.”
Another bit up the window. He´s got a palm up from its base blocking our view from the shabby villages and flatlands below.
An hour passes. Maybe two. Nobody says anything and he´s still not finished with either the nuts or the paper bag itself.
“Squeeze,” I say.
“It´s the name of the episode. First season, episode three.”
“No f*cking way.”
“I kid you not, kemo sabe,” I smile doing Tonto´s voice from the Lone Ranger.
“You aren´t even that much into the show,” he calls my bluff. He know it because we have a mutual friend who stayed back home, couldn´t make it with us, who´s such an X-Files buff and knows the name to all episodes and stuff. “You can´t possibly know it.”
“I taped it over the pilot by accident.”
“The pilot had Dana Scully… wasshername…”
“Gillian Anderson.”
“Right. Gillian Anderson,” I say with a snap of my fingers. “There´s this five-minute-or-so sequence in the pilot in which she´s in her bra and panties and has just discovered some weird marks on her skin which she thinks are scars from an alien abduction then Mulder checks them under candelight finds out it´s just mosquito bites…”
“Oh she was so damn hot…”
“And you taped it over with the one with the liver guy?,” he gleefully asks.
“Yes. With the one whose antagonist´s nasty habits you have grown so fond of emulating for the last hour,” I tell him in scorn. “Just look at the mess you´ve turned our window you assh*le.”
“Big deal. Pullmann class my ass anyway,” he laughs. “What they think this is all of a sudden? London?”
“If this car´s London then you´re some goddamn Vergeltungswaffe-Eins.”
“Don´t throw this mock-German at me. You sound like Billy Madison in the tub playing with the bottle of shampoo you know? You so suck.”
“YOU suck!,” I get back at him in my best Adam Sandler impression.

Life is made of choices and 1998 has faded away and I had made a choice in the Summer of that year before I leaped on that bus and that train and over Lake Titicaca and in doing so I left a girl behind.
Straight off our first kiss just shy off the morning´s first light after a year of building it up. We kissed, I could barely believe it!! –Then off to Peru, what the heck was I thinking! Had I stayed.
Had I stayed she would´ve become my very first steady girlfriend a year before I met the girl who would´ve become my first steady girlfriend. That´s a question that has puzzled me for years you know? Like, downright HAUNTED me for years and the one true answer is this:
It would´ve been magical, pardon the cliché, and it would have lasted that December up to the first week of February before it was back to College for each of us and the spell would´ve fallen through, simple as that.

There´s this old picture at my grandmother´s house, it´s from a birthday party from when my young cousin turned six or something and I was seven years old. I´m wearing a The Clash yellow shirt in the party and I can´t for the life of me remember what the hell I was doing wearing The Clash apparel in 1987. I also remember a Midnight Oil t-shirt I had when I was eleven even though I would just get into the Oils in College and my mom denies the existence of both shirts to this day despite photographic evidence clearly pointing otherwise.
Fox Mulder himself couldn´t solve that one but the chorus from a Clash song remains, “You gotta let me know / Should I stay or should I go?”
We listened to that song in a nightclub in Cuzco, Peru as the DJ played it time and again, I was trying so hard to look tough to that blond girl we had met a few days earlier...

I´m knee-deep in a single choice tonight out of a recent phone call. They have teased me with an apple smaller than mine but with a glow so more golden. It´s squeezing the life out of me and sticking me to my desk at the office even though everybody´s long gone home now, it´s sticking me to the window out of my eyes, deep into myself, like the bits of paper drenched in my best friend´s spit from back in the train crossing Bolivia.
Spit, though, dries up pretty quick and that leaves me…

So many things have come undone since 1998.
I have lost so much. We have lost so much.

It´s dark outside and I should be going home right now.