In a flat, there was a radiator that wondered whether there were any others of its kind out there somewhere. It had never seen any others, but after thinking a while it became certain that if it could only sent out a message, someone would answer. When the woman who lived in the flat hung up poster with a Morse Code alphabet, it knew how to send that message. It sent knocks up through the pipes;
‘Hello,’ and after a pause, ‘hello.’
The man in the flat above happened to be an air traffic controller who had learned Morse Code better than was strictly necessary. After he had heard the first three hellos, he sent one back, knocking on the pipes.
‘Do you feel lonely too?’ answered the radiator and the man did feel lonely, so they had a long conversation afterwards.
The day after, the man did not know whether he should go to meet this new friend face to face. After a week of communication, he was afraid that he might not like what he saw, or that the person in the other end did not want to see him. After a month, it seemed ridiculous to seek the person out.
However, one day when he when down the steps, he saw a woman come out of the flat which he thought the knocking was coming from. Trying to make sure, he asked:
‘Have you heard the knocking?’
‘Oh, yeah, it’s from the radiator in my living room,’ she said, and thought that she would have to ask the landlord to do something about it because it was getting ridiculous.
‘Will you marry me?’ asked the man.
The woman blinked.
‘No thank you,’ she said and hurried down the stairs.
The man did not go to work after that. When the knocking began that evening, he did not answer and the radiator had no idea what had gone wrong.