For reasons unknown, as he studied the spinothalamic tract of the central nervous system, her memory (or was it her presence?) came to be in his mind. It was the first time he thought about her in many years.
He preferred it to believe it was her presence the one that somehow materialized in the circuitry of his brain. But it was impossible to know, and he settled with the idea that it was her memory the one that assaulted him with such rowdiness.
It was not possible to know, if for some miracle, for some randomness of consciousness she was thinking about him as well, almost 20 years after the last time he talked to her. Twenty years after the last time they walk on the eerily quiet streets of a southern suburb of Bogota when blood was boiling, hormones raging, and desire rampant, but all those feelings were mixed as well with the longing for connection.
Even then, being twenty years old he somehow understood that he had spent two years chasing the ghost of an unrepeatable moment in a lake in a mountain that was alive and somehow gave him the valor to confuse desire with love, only to then turn it to obsession and or the fear of abandonment, and maybe later into love.
His desire for more had turned something, that if honoring life itself, should not have lasted more than a handful of nights into a two-year endeavor of two kids desiring and pretending to be adults and to build a relationship. Then the drag of meeting mutual friends and family, obligations such as attending to social events for which he was never keen to go. Negative emotions invaded their relationship like an exogenous species in a fragile ecosystem and took over the passion. Until the weight of all that, monotony, and the incommensurable heat of the summer in Bogota finally made her leave him.
Now, four time-zones away, he was reminded one more time, that it is impossible to run away from your past. That you carry geographies and ever blurry neighborhoods and senses in a place beyond the flesh. He was suddenly afraid that when senility finally settled down, he would be trapped in Bogota in 1999.
Maybe it was the realization that he had been reading the wrong chapter on the central nervous system what prompted him to google her name on the private browser of his phone. He struggled to study medicine, jumping from chapter to chapter of different books, different journals, different authors. He was a systematic reader. He liked to start on the first page of a book, and finish reading on the last one. He felt uncomfortable leaving books half-read.
How many loves there were out there? She was not the first. Maybe she was the first that mattered. The first for whom he had considered leaving father and mother on the pursuit of something else. The first that was not a crush. The first one who gave herself to him. The first one he could not take care of and nurture.
And now she had come back to his memory and begged life itself that his wife would not discover his internet search. He knew there were names that would get him in more trouble than all the porn in the world. Hers was one of them.
There were only a few traces of her out there in the world-wide-web. A few articles she wrote years past, some LinkedIn half-heartedly completed profile that not even had her picture. An old address. Her digital presence was almost insignificant. Or maybe she married and took someone else’s last name, but he couldn’t picture her doing that. Being in a relationship, absolutely, but not taking somebody’s last name. She was too good of a feminist to accept being someone else’s property.
And as the night evolved and the search turns fruitless, he wondered what kind of neural connection trigger her memory. More audaciously, he wondered if there was some kind of cosmic connection, like a telephone line, that as you think about someone this person remembers you. But this made no sense. If it was midnight when he thought about her, that meant it was way into the early hours of the day, let’s say 3 or 4 in the morning, when she thought about him. This is when she should have been sleeping the deepest. But the truth is that as the memory of her faded, he could not even remember her sleeping habits.
Maybe there were not many people that are truly significant in our lives. Him, a man who praised himself for living in the present, felt pulled towards a woman who had probably erased him from her memory a long time ago. Only his ego keep on telling him that she was the one initiating the cosmic phone call, imprinting the message in the ether, calling his name prompting him to search her name, nickname, and aliases he was aware of for half an hour on the web.
Nevertheless, he felt the urge to answer the potentially cosmic phone call. Maybe one day she will read his poems. Maybe one day she will read his stories.
As he felt the end of the dream he called life come to an end. He kept on descending on into the infernal spiral towards the year 1999 in Bogota. Idealizing memories, calling other women by her name. Speaking in a language people did not understand. Oscillating between the despair of begging for forgiveness and pleading to be taken back as a lover. Certain that the ghost he was chasing was made out of thin air, fragile memories, eternal longing, and would never come to life.