On Tuesday, Pau's last day in Bogotá, we met up with Peter, who was in town and walked with him up a hill to Monserrate, a monastery with a good view of the city. Bogotá is big, the second biggest city in the continent, and from the hilltop, it was hard to see the distant suburbs through the haze.
Pau's friends came back from their trip that day so we packed up our things and went to the bus station. I had finally managed to convince her not to hitchhike back alone.
She bought a ticket for Tulcán and we sat on grated metal chairs waiting for the departure time. She said she would miss me and I said I would miss her. When the time came, we got up and went to the gate. A man took her ticket and said I couldn't come any further. Pau turned and kissed and hugged me, and wouldn't let go.
When she finally did, she was crying. "I said I wouldn't cry," she choked. "There's no reason to be sad," I said. "We'll see each other again. I promise."
"OK," she said, looking down. Then she turned and left. I watched her. Then I turned and left, thinking.
I found my way to her friend's apartment. They were kindly hippies, who greeted me with tea. I told them about my trip and how we were robbed. One of them had a backpack that he was about to throw away. It was in very poor condition, with many sewn-up holes and broken clips. But it would be fine to get back to New Jersey. I thanked him a lot: it was actually exactly what I needed.
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