Condal's father had always said that no one knew the color of her eyes.

Condal’s father had always said that no one knew the color of her eyes. They changed with every change in the light: blue when the light was rosy, green when it was golden, gray when it was blue. He used to joke that one could only see their true color in the dark.

Such eyes were perhaps more sensitive than most to the changing light that changed them. She saw at once that the chapel was not the same.

She saw at once that the chapel was not the same.

It was the same season, the same hour; the slant of the light had not altered, but its depth and its color were subtly different. This was no winter twilight, but ordinary daylight darkened by blue glass. These were only pillars and not trees. There was nothing like snow. Only the silence was the same.

Of course, she told herself, it was absurd to think that just because she had met a boy in the chapel once, she would meet him every time. Even a very good, very Christian boy did not spend all his time in chapels.

And yet – remarkably, but somehow unsurprisingly – he was there.

He was there.

She waited a moment, but she was soon dismayed to realize she had stopped too soon: not only had he not yet noticed her, but he would get another shock when he finally did and found her standing so near.

She stepped to his side and coughed politely. He could not help but notice her then, but instead of looking up and smiling his wide, well-​​remembered smile, he inhaled sharply and glared down at the hands that lay flat on his lap.

Condal was horrified. She was interrupting him. She was annoying him. She had thought herself quite clever for having come prepared with an excuse for talking to him – as unlikely as it was that she would see him, and as unthinkable as it was that she would not – but now it was a dreaded duty. Now she only wanted it to be over.

Now she only wanted it to be over.

She pulled the handkerchief out of her purse, and though she had folded and creased it so carefully just before coming down, she let it flutter open into the blue light, hoping it would catch his eye.

In the confusion following Lili’s sudden death, there had been little sympathy left over for the orphaned daughter of a man who had been dead for weeks. Though it had seemed like taking liberties to cry into this boy’s handkerchief once she was again in possession of her own dainty little cloths, she had always found comfort in it, endlessly renewed, as if he were giving it to her over and over again.

He did not look up at her; the fluttering at the edge of his vision was enough. His hand darted up and caught the cloth out of hers, so suddenly that it snagged on Condal’s tense fingers before she thought to let go.

He did not look at the cloth either, even once he had it. He smoothed it out over his leg and folded it haphazardly while staring across the aisle at an empty bench.

He did not look up at her.

Now that she had neither his sad eyes nor his kind smile to distract her, she saw what was wrong with his face: there was a pair of deep, colorless scars on his upper lip, as if he had been grievously scratched by a two-​​clawed cat, or bitten by a serpent with its fangs.

The lips themselves twisted bitterly together, as if mulling some astringent words that etiquette forbade him to say.

Suddenly Condal saw their last meeting in a very different light, and it changed the color of everything. He had not handed her his handkerchief, but dropped it haughtily onto the back of her wrist. He had not stayed to sympathize or even to be thanked, but had stalked out immediately afterwards – not out of discretion but of annoyance.

She saw it now.

Ten days of lonely mourning she had thought past were piled upon her at once, and this time she would be without comfort.

At last he looked up at her with his sad, well-​​remembered eyes, but too late.

He looked up at her with his sad eyes, but too late.