Amanda emerged from the bushes to find Pete standing on the trail just 20 yards ahead. He stood there swaying a bit, shifting his weight from one leg to the next and stared down the trail. Amanda watched him for a moment feeling trapped, and then started walking again.
She and Pete walked together for the rest of the day, the way two people start talking on a airplane flight and one of them never stops. Amanda tried several times to find an exit strategy -bathroom breaks, a rock in the shoe, cafe con leches, but Pete persisted in the innocent way a child vies for adult attention. Pete just needed someone to talk to that could validate his stories by saying, yeah, uh huh, mmmm, and I see. Amanda did that, the way she was trained to do.
Amanda and Pete checked into the municipal albergue in Santo Domingo. Amanda took off her pack and sat at chair in front of the hospitalero. She felt still and euphoric sitting down for the first time in hours giving her legs a rest.