A Token Of Memory

It was a delicate thing, almost too delicate for her large hands, but she was careful.

It was so small and fragile that she could have crushed it without even realising it: a bit of colour on a slender stem, made of graceful, organic curves that boasted that it was not a thing created on Cybertron. It wasn't even metal, but some much softer substance. If she squeezed it between her fingers, they would be coated a delicate pink.

Strange how such a tiny thing, so alien, could carry with it such a swell of emotion. Of course, it was never the gift that affection cared about, but the giver. The strange, organic thing had been given in love by a suitor who was eager to please. Another might have given her something strong, designed to be carried by a Decepticon, something that said, I deem you worthy of me, and I want that strength by my side.

She would have laughed at a calculated gift, knowing that it was all manipulation, an attempt to win a prize. This bit of colour was a gift of honesty: I like these, and in the liking want to share them. These make me happy, and I hope it will make you happy, too.

It did, but not for his reasons. Her enthusiastic suitor liked the little alien things because their aesthetics pleased him. She liked it because it brought back memories of him, gave her a piece of him to hold on to. He was so far away now and she hadn't seen him in months. It had been such a strange, rushed courtship, almost unreal now that she was back in her routine.

She had had other suitors, and they all gave her things that couldn't last or were intangible – shared laughter, a solution to a problem, even just a round of drinks after a bad day. She valued all these memories, but they were still just that – just memories. She may as well have dreamed it or lived it in a sim for all she knew.

Ah, but there was the gift. The oddly-organic thing, plucked from an alien world, given for no reason but love. He couldn't have been thinking at the time – could he? – that it made their time together real, that now she could never just go back to being herself because this token was proof that she had met him and been given a choice.

She thought she hadn't made the choice yet, but looking at the gift, sometimes wondered if in the keeping of it, she had already chosen.

Some people pressed roses between the pages of books. Steelcast kept a lawn flamingo in her pocket.

The End.