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 "We're too young for love," or even suggest that she was saying "I love you" because he asked her to. Instead she said "I love you." The words travelled the yo-yo, the doll, the diary, the necklace, the quilt, the clothesline, the birthday present, the harp, the tea bag, the tennis racket, 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 never could open the can, because then he would lose its contents. It was enough just to know it was there.
- J. Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, p.220