Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
“Then one day she stopped writing. And I knew. I just knew. I’ve kept all her letters, you know.”
I looked at him wistfully.
“I’ve kept yours too,” he immediately added, to reassure me, though vaguely, not knowing whether this was something I wanted to hear.
It was my turn. “I have all of yours too. And something else as well. Which I may show you. Later.”
Did he not remember Billowy, or was he too modest, too cautious, to show he knew exactly what I was referring to? He resumed staring into the offing.
He had come on the right day. Not a cloud, not a ripple, not a stir in the wind. “I’d forgotten how much I loved this place. But this is exactly how I remember it. At noon it’s paradise.”
I let him talk. It was good to see his eyes drift into the offing. Perhaps he too wanted to avoid the face-to-face.
“And Anchise?” he finally asked.
“We lost him to cancer, poor man. I used to think he was so old. He wasn’t even fifty.”
“He too loved it here—him and his grafts and his orchard.”
“He died in my grandfather’s bedroom.”
Silence again. I was going to say My old room, but I changed my mind.
“Are you happy you’re back?”
He saw through my question before I did.
“Are you happy I’m back?” he retorted.
I looked at him, feeling quite disarmed, though not threatened. Like people who blush easily but aren’t ashamed of it, I knew better than to stifle this feeling, and let myself be swayed by it.
“You know I am. More than I ought to be, perhaps.”
That said it all.
“Come, I’ll show you where we buried some of my father’s ashes.”
We walked down the back stairwell into the garden where the old breakfast table used to be. “This was my father’s spot. I call it his ghost spot. My spot used to be over there, if you remember.” I pointed to where my old table used to stand by the pool.
“Did I have a spot?” he asked with a half grin.
“You’ll always have a spot.”
I wanted to tell him that the pool, the garden, the house, the tennis court, the orle of paradise, the whole place, would always be his ghost spot. Instead, I pointed upstairs to the French windows of his room. Your eyes are forever there, I wanted to say, trapped in the sheer curtains, staring out from my bedroom upstairs where no one sleeps these days. When there’s a breeze and they swell and I look up from down here or stand outside on the balcony, I’ll catch myself thinking that you’re in there, staring out from your world to my world, saying, as you did on that one night when I found you on the rock, I’ve been happy here. You’re thousands of miles away but no sooner do I look at this window than I’ll think of a bathing suit, a shirt thrown on on the fly, arms resting on the banister, and you’re suddenly there, lighting up your first cigarette of the day—twenty years ago today. For as long as the house stands, this will be your ghost spot—and mine too, I wanted to say.