With her knack for doing the right thing, Ilona made this moonlight dance easier for him than it would otherwise have been. Rather than immediately facing him, proposing herself as his partner in dance, she instead began her own movements ahead of him, so that she did not see his. In this way, he could take guidance from her, find his own rhythm, and not be concerned with the impression his clumsy efforts might make.
She, of course, was destined for a night like this one. Lithe and gracile, she skimmed over rather than trod upon the ground. Not a trained dancer, she nevertheless possessed such comfort with her body and felt so integrated with nature that she stepped, jumped, and spun as if extensively rehearsed. Ilona bent forward at the waist and, with both arms moving inward from the sides, appeared to gather up the magic light through which they moved. Then she pirouetted and, with out-flung arms, released the breast-held light up into the tree limbs. Sometimes she circled at ever-increasing speeds, round and round her own axis as well as that of a central stone that was the focal point of their dance. Her arms floated high, lifted by some buoyant force, then gradually descended until they came to rest at her sides. Twice she stopped in place and sprang into the mystic air, hands aloft, cutting through the moonlight like a diver completing a smooth entrance into the water.
At first, Skylar was at a loss what to do. Nothing in his experience even remotely prepared him for this moment. He had lived an outward life of supreme rationality and was now being asked to become a primitive. His days had been routinized like an inmate’s, and he was now being offered the chance to simply be— in pure spontaneity. He had survived only by knowing what was acceptable and expected and adapting himself to those norms, and he was now being handed the freedom to dance wild and naked under the moon, like a Neolithic shaman.
This girl, however, liberated him in ways he could not have imagined possible. Because she loved, because she supported and encouraged him, he never felt in her presence the caustic self-doubts that arose while in that of others. Her character functioned like a solid foundation on which he could experiment with new behaviors without having to worry about falling into a dark hole. Although unconscious of the ability, at least he did not think of it as such, Skylar had always possessed clear and immediate intuition about what others were thinking. While the true signal-readings were often distorted by the interference of his neurotic noise, they were still there, in the midst of that garble, accurate and complete.