On a balmy, moody, sultry Tuesday afternoon, Christopher Loftus found Lady Juneau’s eye.
It was on a dune, crushed lashes and dull gray irises all still intact. Most ladies gave their husbands handkerchiefs, or little jewelry, as tokens before they rode off to war. Lady Juneau had given her eye.
It was a good eye. Lucie Juneau was a good woman, with a round, white face like the moon and a long, white nose like her father’s. And she had gray eyes, not particularly any sort of gray, just the gray of not any color.
“Here it is, my love,” said Lady Juneau when she met her lord at the gate. His horse was white and tall and shook his head a lot. “Here is my favor.”
Her lord accepted it graciously. He held it in his white glove, where it stared up at him, big and gray and quiet.
“I shall wear it in battle,” he promised her.
Lady Juneau nodded.
Beside them, a young woman wept loudly and unashamedly, clinging to her husband’s saddled leg.
“Do not cry for me, Lucie my love,” said her lord.
“I will not,” she replied. “You have my eye.”
“And I will have your tears.”
“I will not cry.”
The entire household had cried when her lord announced that he was to be joining the king’s army. Lucie Juneau had not. The kitchen girls cried for the young, handsome lord, the parlor maids, and so too did the pretty little woman with the long, black hair, Danay, who brought Lady Lucie her breakfast.
“Danay cried,” said her lord. “I remember. She cried. Do console her, Lucie, please.”
“I will see to her,” promised Lucie Juneau.
“And yourself,” said her lord.
“Go with my love,” said Lucie Juneau, “and my eye. Return with both and your honor, or none at all.”
Her lord nodded solemnly. He kissed her hand, and then he waved. And then he was gone.
Christopher Loftus stood now on this barren land, the sand had long buried and reburied after the wind had uncovered the broken pieces of armor, the stray limbs, the shreds of old flags and standards.
And now everything was the same dust, the same color, the grains of sand had embedded themselves into the skin, under the nails of half-gloved hands, to staunch dry wounds that had been loud and brave and red to a cracked and hot and dry landscape that melted into the desert sky.
Indeed the very-gray gray of Lady Juneau’s colorless eye was the only thing that stood out, which is how Christopher Loftus discovered it.
She would like her eye back, perhaps, he thought, so he picked it up, wrapped it in his red handkerchief, and tucked it in his pocket.
Christopher Loftus brought the eye back to the castle, and presented it to Lady Juneau.
“Your favor, my lady,” he said.
She took it silently.
“I could not find your lord,” he said. “I saw only this. The sand had buried him.”
Lady Juneau held the eye in her hand. “Yes.”
“He may not be dead,” said Christopher Loftus.
“He was carrying your favor, your love. He had your love.”
“Well,” she said, “he had my eye.”