As the sixth borough drifted away

“The string between them grew incredibly long, so long it had to be extended with many other strings tied together: his yoyo, the pull from her talking doll, the twine that had fastened his father’s diary, the waxy string that had kept her grandmother’s pearls around her neck and off the floor, the thread that had separated his great uncle’s childhood quilt from a pile of rags. Contained within everything they shared with one another were the yoyo, the doll, the diary, the necklace, and the quilt. They had more and more to tell each other and less and less string. The boy asked the girl to say ‘I love you’ into her can, giving her no further explanation. And she didn’t ask for any, or say ‘that’s silly’… or even suggest that she was saying ‘I love you’ because he asked her to. Instead she said ‘I love you’. The words traveled the yoyo, the doll, the necklace, the quilt, the clothesline, the birthday present, the harp, the tea bag, the tennis racket, the hem of the skirt… The boy covered his can with a lid, removed it from the string, and put her love for him on a shelf in his closet. Of course, he could never open the can, because then he would lose its contents. It was enough just to know it was there.”

by Jonathan Safran Foer