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Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)

“No, a parallel life.”

Maybe every other sorrow I’d known in life suddenly decided to converge on this very one. I had to fight it off. And if he didn’t see, it’s probably because he himself was not immune to it.

On a whim, I asked him if he’d ever read a novel by Thomas Hardy called The Well-Beloved. No, he hadn’t. About a man who falls in love with a woman who, years after leaving him, dies. He visits her house and ends up meeting her daughter, with whom he falls in love, and after losing her as well, many years later, runs into her daughter, with whom he falls in love. “Do these things die out on their own or do some things need generations and lifetimes to sort themselves out?”

“I wouldn’t want one of my sons in your bed, any more than I’d like yours, if you were to have one, in my son’s.”

We chuckled. “I wonder about our fathers, though.”

He thought for a while, then smiled.

“What I don’t want is to receive a letter from your son with the bad news: And by the way, enclosed please find a framed postcard my father asked me to return to you. Nor do I want to answer with something like: You can come whenever you please, I am sure he would have wanted you to stay in his room. Promise me it won’t happen.”

“Promise.”

“What did you write on the back of the postcard?”

“It was going to be a surprise.”

“I’m too old for surprises. Besides, surprises always come with a sharp edge that is meant to hurt. I don’t want to be hurt—not by you. Tell me.”

“Just two words.”

“Let me guess: If not later, when?”

“Two words, I said. Besides, that would be cruel.”

I thought for a while.

“I give up.”

“Cor cordium, heart of hearts, I’ve never said anything truer in my life to anyone.”

I stared at him.

It was good we were in a public place.

“We should go.” He reached for his raincoat, which was folded next to his seat, and began to make motions of standing up.

I was going to walk him outside the hotel lobby and then stand and watch him go. Any moment now we were going to say goodbye. Suddenly part of my life was going to be taken away from me now and would never be given back.

“Suppose I walk you to your car,” I said.

“Suppose you came for dinner.”

“Suppose I did.”

Outside, the night was settling fast. I liked the peace and the silence of the countryside, with its fading alpenglow and darkling view of the river. Oliver country, I thought. The mottled lights from across the other bank beamed on the water, reminding me of Van Gogh’s Starlight Over the Rhone. Very autumnal, very beginning of school year, very Indian summer, and as always at Indian summer twilight, that lingering mix of unfinished summer business and unfinished homework and always the illusion of summer months ahead, which wears itself out no sooner than the sun has set.