'Mementos' by Alison Lock
Susan shut the lid of the box. In her hand was a beautiful specimen; sleek and straight, rippling like water as it caught in the light.
“Wow,” exclaimed Tracey, “where did you get that one from?”
“He was my first,” replied Susan. “Roy.”
“Were you very young?” Tracey asked.
“We were both eighteen,” Susan replied.
“It’s a healthy looking one, that’s for sure, and in really good condition. They can get quite brittle with age,” Tracey added knowingly.
The memory distressed Susan. Even after all these years, tears welled in her eyes.
“Why was it cut off?” Tracey persisted.
“It was the job. One of the conditions…” Susan’s voice trailed off.
“It must have been so difficult,” said Tracey.
She was looking sympathetic now as if she really knew, really understood.
“We even made a special place for it on the mantelpiece,” Susan sighed, “with candles and incense.”
There was a hushed silence as the two women looked at the sacred object.
Susan took a deep breath.
“Then when we split up,” she said, “I took it with me. I just wanted to hold on to a part of him forever.”
“That’s so beautiful.” Tracey sighed.
Susan was already slipping it back into the box.
“Your turn now, Trace...”