It was a Friday night, as I recall, when reports arrived at the Fang & Feather about a gang of young men smoking pot and hanging around in the darkness near Pabellón Valioso. Alex was on duty at the Welcome Center that night and immediately headed down there to break things up. I went with her for moral support, but she was going with our without me. That the gang turned out to be a collection of teen-age boys who melted away like smoke when they heard my fatherly voice does not diminish her courage.
That kind of thing will cement a friendship. So Alex and I have that going for us.
I remember being surprised at how bold she was that night, because Alex is usually quiet and remains somewhat in the background. She allows others to speak first and listens far more than she talks. When I was in my twenties you couldn’t shut me up if you tried. Perhaps people did try, but I was talking too fast to notice. Only now, as an older man, am I discovering the wisdom of silence and listening.
Alex wears her hair half brunette and half blonde. Occasionally, due to some process with dye that she explained but I could not understand, a wayward strand will turn a muted lavender. My eye is always drawn to that lavender strand when it appears. It’s quite lovely.
I suspect our Alex has a wild side that might surprise people here in La Mancha. I saw a glimmer of it in her eyes the night we went to Pabellón Valioso together. I also suspect there is something innocent and playful in her wild side. Something in the lavender-blue family of wildness, if I had to guess.
All of that and her eyes. Sea foam green at the center with a dark blue ring around them. When Alex leans on her elbow and puts her chin in her palm to look at you across the Welcome Center counter, you feel seen and heard and known. Quiet people have that gift.
Something in her eyes lets you know that she will march straight out into the darkness with you, if that is what friendship requires of her that night.