Christine looked through her cluttered closet of well-worn hats. A few hats in her collection were all-occasion assemblages of general wisdom and propriety, like the one she wore now. Some hats she liked more than others, and some she only wore for special events. Picking out the right hat for the right occasion was the trick. It took maturity. At twenty-four, she could no longer claim coverage by the impertinent ignorance of childhood or the awkward ineptness of adolescence. She was required to know herself well enough to function in a civil society. Choosing the right hat was crucial.

Her current memories of Boyd were too full of baggage to be useful. They looked more like a helmet than an accessory. Arguments had yellowed the white-satin parts that started out so promising and pure. The truth behind silent dinners and averted eyes dented the seams and weakened the stitching. She needed a hat that still had some innocence, but was not naive; a hat that would allow her to smile at Boyd but would not tempt an exchange. If anything, experience had taught her restraint. She wasn’t that type of girl anymore. She was an adult.

She heard of some alien races that pulled all their memories along with them wherever they went. They were unable to forget and therefore unable to forgive. Christine knew that memories naturally change if given the chance to settle and given the space to grow. Like wine, memories often improve with time.

She smiled and nodded when she saw the hat she was looking for. Her mind flooded with long-term memories as soon as she placed it on her head. Youthful passions cavorted around corners with unbound possibilities. This would be the hat for her meeting with Boyd. It held enough youthful precociousness to allow anticipation but was balanced with enough experience to keep her grounded. Looking into the mirror her eyes reflected a new confidence. She wore this hat well, she thought, and she was sure that Boyd would approve. How could he not approve? The hat once belonged to him.