Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
“I want to show you something,” he said. His office had a large leather sofa. Oliver sofa, I thought. So this is where he sits and reads. Papers were strewn about the sofa and on the floor, except for the corner seat, which was under an alabaster lamp. Oliver lamp. I remembered sheets lining the floor in his room in B. “Recognize it?” he asked. On the wall was a framed colored reproduction of a poorly preserved fresco of a bearded Mithraic figure. Each of us had bought one on the morning of our visit to San Clemente. I hadn’t seen mine in ages. Next to it on the wall was a framed postcard of Monet’s berm. I recognized it immediately.
“It used to be mine, but you’ve owned it far, far longer than I have.” We belonged to each other, but had lived so far apart that we belonged to others now. Squatters, and only squatters, were the true claimants to our lives.
“It has a long history,” I said.
“I know. When I had it reframed I saw the inscriptions on the back, which is why you can also read the back of the card now. I’ve often thought about this Maynard guy. Think of me someday.”
“Your predecessor,” I said to tease him. “No, nothing like that. Whom will you give it to one day?”
“I had hoped one day to let one of my sons bring it in person when he comes for his residency. I’ve already added my inscription—but you can’t see it. Are you staying in town?” he asked to change the subject as he was putting on his raincoat.
“Yes. For one night. I’m seeing some people at the university tomorrow morning, then I’m off.”
He looked at me. I knew he was thinking of that night during Christmas break, and he knew I knew it. “So I’m forgiven.”
He pressed his lips in muted apology.
“Let’s have a drink at my hotel.”
I felt his discomfort.
“I said a drink, not a fuck.”
He looked at me and literally blushed. I was staring at him. He was amazingly handsome still, no loss of hair, no fat, still jogged every morning, he said, skin still as smooth as then. Only a few sunspots on his hands. Sunspots, I thought, and I couldn’t put the thought away. “What are these?” I asked, pointing at his hand and then touching it. “I have them all over.” Sunspots. They broke my heart, and I wanted to kiss each and every one away. “Too much sun in my salad days. Besides, it shouldn’t be so surprising. I’m getting on. In three years, my elder son will be as old as you were then—in fact, he’s closer to the person you were when we were together than you are to the Elio I knew then. Talk about uncanny.”
Is that what you call it, when we were together? I thought.
In the bar of the old New England hotel, we found a quiet spot overlooking the river and a large flower garden that was very much in bloom that month. We ordered two martinis—Sapphire gin, he specified—and sat close together in the horseshoe-shaped booth, like two husbands who are forced to sit uncomfortably close while their wives are in the powder room.