"We should climb up there—we'd have a fantastic view of the ocean," said Simon, gesturing to the nearly vertical pathway that wound its way up the side of the cliff.
"No," she replied with complete and utter finality. "No, absolutely not, that has 'no' written all over it."
"Come on, live a little—have an adventure! Leave your comfort zone!"
"I don't want to have an adventure. I'm content with safe mediocrity, thank you."
"Stop being an asshole, Simon."
"I might be mistaken, but I think that calling a terminally ill person an asshole inside a church might be a sin," he told her.
Holly shrugged. "But didn't the Bible say that telling the truth will set me free?"
"Well, that's life," said Holly flatly.
"Yes, but I don't have the greatest track record at life, do I?" replied Simon. "It's like I missed the memo. Really, I don't get why it's so difficult for me. What is life, anyway? How do you life?"
"Sometimes it just feels like I'm going crazy," said Holly. "Like I can't handle even the smallest things that come my way. How do you cope, Simon? What's your secret?"
Simon raised a brow. "My method of coping generally consists of wrapping myself in blankets and transforming into a burrito of apathy," he said. "Maybe you shouldn't take advice for me in that area. I'm much more qualified in the terminally ill asshole department."
"Be still my heart! You're crazy if you think I could possibly fall in love with you, Simon Dalaigh," she told him.
"But if you ever fall in love with me, you've got to know for sure before you tell me," was his reply.
"Well I can promise you that I will never fall in love with the likes of you."
(phonecall: 8:09 PM, february 24th, 1961)
"I hope I have a hearing problem."
"Because I truly couldn't imagine why I would get a call saying that an inmate at the Abington County Jail would like to talk to me."
"And you can imagine my surprise when I heard your voice greeting me! I thought, wow, thank goodness it's Simon—I obviously heard the operator wrong."
"So please explain to me, Simon, why you happen to be calling me from the county jail—I'm sure you did nothing wrong on your first day out of the hospital."
"I didn't do anything wrong!"
"So what the hell did you do?"
"I was brought in for assault-"
"I swear to God, I can explain!"
"Simon, you are attached to a small oxygen tank twenty-four hours a day, you nearly died three weeks ago and you can't weigh more than one hundred and thirty pounds! You mean to tell me that you assaulted someone?"
"These two racist bigots were hustling a colored girl near an alley—they had it coming!"
"Well then you should have called for help, not run headlong into a sure fight! What is wrong with you? Your lungs aren't the damn problem, Simon, it's your brain that needs checking!"
"I've told you a million times, Holly, I don't have a goddamn brain tumor!"
"Then what on earth possessed you to assault someone? And in your condition too! You could have been killed! And why are you calling me with your one phone call? Why haven't you called Dr. Purefoy?"
"That's the thing—he'll never let me out again if he finds out I did this!"
"So you're calling me?"
"Listen, they're letting me off the hook if I post an eighty-dollar bail-"
"I don't have eighty dollars to spend on you, you pretentious twat!"
"I know that! I've got savings, from my grandmother—I just need you to pick some up at the bank. That's all I need.'
"What—you think they'll just give me your money?"
"No! I just need you to bring me a withdrawal form, which I can then sign and give to the good people at the police station."
"I live in another state! You're meaning to tell me that I must drive two and a half hours at eight o'clock at night to ferry you a withdrawal form? You're insane! You're by far the most mentally deficient person I have ever laid eyes upon!"
"Calm down, Holly!"
"No I will not! I am a very patient person—people complement me on it frequently, but you, Simon Dalaigh, are the most adept person at destroying any fortitude and serenity I have, and I'm continually amazed by how good you are at infuriating me!"
"But at least I'm good at something, right?"
"Oh! You're—you're despicable! Mark my words, Simon: the minute I get to that goddamn prison, I'm hitting you! I'm slapping the daylights out of you, and when I do, you will apologize for causing my palm discomfort!"
"Oh my God, thank you, Holly! I'll apologize profusely and you can hit me as much as you like, thank you!"
"You can count on that! You owe me—you owe me big time."
"You're an idiot," Holly told him.
"False," said Simon with utmost solidarity. "I've got an IQ of one hundred and forty-three, so I'm not an idiot. Granted, I am impulsive, irresponsible and I have bad judgment skills, not to mention I'm, as you so eloquently informed me, a pretentious twat. If you're going to insult me, Holly, which I know you will, at least do so accurately."
"Do you remember, Simon, when I swore—I swore that I would never, under any circumstance, fall in love with someone like you?"
"How could I forget?" asked Simon.
"Well," she said, "I'm afraid I've made a terrible mess."
"Yes. I royally screwed up, I goofed, I bungled. I'm in very, very big trouble."
Simon straightened his oxygen nubs. "I'm honestly curious as to what mistake the immaculate Holly Halliburton could have possibly made."
"I broke my promise."
"Insane and ridiculous and against my better judgment as it may be, I might very well be falling in love with you, Simon Dalaigh."
"I said I wouldn't tell you if I didn't know for sure."