Once upon a time, before microwaves, but after cars, there lived a boy. The boy loved nothing more than sitting on the fire escape to his New York apartment. His best friend was a girl whom he never saw, unless she was on her fire escape across the street.
Through a tin-can telephone, they spent hours talking about things that didn’t matter, and laughing about things that did.
With time, they grew older, and the boy realized he loved the girl. But he kept this secret buried in his heart like a seed.
One day, the girl sat on the fire escape crying.
“What’s wrong?” the boy said into the tin-can. The girl shook her head. “Tell me a secret.”
The girl lifted her lips to the can. “I l—”
Before her words raced to the other side, the boy covered the tin-can and put it in the refrigerator.
“Now I’ll have it forever.”
The next day, the girl was gone.
The boy never opened the can, knowing the words had to be “I love you”. He never married.
The day of his funeral, a friend opened the can “—ike rain” eeked out.