The Sixth Burough (An Excerpt from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) by Jonathan Safran Foer
One millimeter at a time, the Sixth Borough receded from New York. The eight bridges between Manhattan and the Sixth Borough strained, and finally crumbled, one at a time, into the water. The tunnels were pulled too thin to hold anything at all. The phone and electrical lines snapped, requiring the Sixth Boroughers to revert to old fashioned technologies.
Young friends, whose string-and-tin can phone extended from island to island, had to pay out more and more string, as if letting kites go higher and higher. The string between the young girl in Manhattan and the young boy from the Sixth Borough grew incredibly long, so long that it had to be extended with many other strings tied together: his yo-yo string, 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. 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. The words traveled the yo-yo, the diary, the necklace, the quilt, the clothesline, the hem of the skirt he one day should have pulled from her body. 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.