Sam chose the most gringo-style restaurant on the walking mall for breakfast. His limited taste in food ranked high in my canon of reasons to break up—but not as high as becoming a nark when his private investigation firm tanked.
Runny eggs seasoned with Sam’s snipes for breakfast. I envied the fishermen their happy banter and delectable smelling tidbits served from the giant blue pots. It didn’t matter what trivial disagreement we argued over, for me it was always about the same thing and I was still angry about it: Sam took a contract job with the DEA chasing cocaine dealers through the jungle in Belize two years before, straining our relationship to breaking. I threw him out one night in the midst of a lamp smashing, shouting match on our houseboat in Sausalito.
Although Sam had followed me down to my language school with a suitcase of clothes after the camper burglary, I was enjoying my single status and not rushing to make up. He hoped I might change my mind, but I resented his presence. Why couldn’t he understand that I didn’t want him there? This was my big adventure. But devastated at the loss of my five suitcases and the lack of concern on the part of the Oaxaca police, and with only the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing at the time, I called Sam.
I still don’t know what I was thinking! I was fine, Parsley was fine, and they were only clothes after all, but Sam and I had enjoyed traveling together— Australia, Belize, Mexico—camping or sailing or touring, it always was an adventure. Somehow—the shock and sense of violation after the robbery—I forgot another of the canon: I am the adventurous one. Left up to Sam, we’d have sat in a seedy hotel bar drinking Miller and eating grilled cheese sandwiches on Wonder bread, and that’s exactly what he wanted.
I agreed that I would put up with him‑as a friend‑ if he brought me some new clothes and a printer for my portable Toshiba computer. I was ecstatic that the ladrones—thieves—hadn’t found the secret compartment built in between the front seats that held the computer, my Nikon camera and lenses, and the pullout Clarion tape deck I installed before leaving. They weren’t very astute robbers because they left behind the 350 hp Honda gas generator that plugged into the electrical system and ran the computer, printer, and lamp anywhere I chose to stop and write.
Breakfast over and our provisioning accomplished at the under stocked and over priced tourist grocery store, we returned to camp to put on bathing suits and get ready for the beach. Three months in Mexico and I had lost an entire dress size.
“Must be the salsa!” I told Parsley as I slid out of my dress and into a new bikini and sarong for my day at the shore.
“Your turn,” I said, stepping out of the bus and smoothing the netting back into place.
“Why don’t you trot over there and meet the guys from California. I bet they want to go to the beach with you.”Sam spoke in his most obnoxious tone and gestured his hairless, perspiration damp pate toward the orange combi.
Now what was he mad about? I glanced over to the lifeless bus whose license plate read: Mexico DF—Distrito Federal.
“It’s from Mexico City.”
“Whatever. Take them to the beach,” he said.
“Aren’t you coming with me?” I hoped Sam didn’t hear the hopeful glee in my voice as I walked off toward the gate, Parsley at my side.