[Avery (26) and the narroator (female, 18) are hiking back down a mountain after sunset, with stops for breath-catching and poem-reciting.]
I sat very still, letting the poem wash over me: the beautiful sounds and images, Avery’s voice softening on ‘my dearest, thou’, the half promising, half menacing sound of ‘be lost in me.’ Avery fidgeted audibly. “It’s Tennyson.” he said. “The second half of a poem from *The Princess*.”
“I didn’t know that one. All I read of Tennyson’s was *Idylls of the King*. But it’s lovely.” I didn’t know what I thought about the last two lines and didn’t want to say anything about them until I knew. “Now lies the earth all Danae to the stars...”
“Do you know what he’s referring to? Danae..”
“Of course.” I said sharply. I didn’t want him to think I was utterly ignorant. For that reason I didn’t mention that I had mentally pronounced her name ‘Daynay.’ “I did read a fair bit of Greek mythology.”
“Of course.” Avery said, sounding cross in his turn.
We used his flashlight on the scramble and then switched it off and walked down through the dark side by side, listening to the night noises, then talking about what we heard until all we heard was our voices.
“Without artificial lights you can really see quite well in the dark. It’s certainly true over the short term, and I think as people spend more time in natural light they develop that ability cumulatively. I have better night-eyes than my friends who spend more time in cities, and...”
I froze when he fell, so as not to step or fall on him; my night-eyes weren’t distinguishing his dark clothing from the ground. He got up promptly. I asked if he was all right, trying not to laugh.
“Well, it would have been more effective if I had fallen headfirst into a gaping pit, but the timing was perfect.” he said. Then we both laughed.