Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
Here was someone who lacked for nothing. I couldn’t understand this feeling. I envied him.
“Oliver, are you sleeping?” I would ask when the air by the pool had grown oppressively torpid and quiet.
Then his reply would come, almost a sigh, without a single muscle moving in his body. “I was.”
That foot in the water—I could have kissed every toe on it. Then kissed his ankles and his knees. How often had I stared at his bathing suit while his hat was covering his face? He couldn’t possibly have known what I was looking at.
“Oliver, are you sleeping?”
His toes flicking the water.
“About Heidegger’s interpretation of a fragment by Heraclitus.”
Or, when I wasn’t practicing the guitar and he wasn’t listening to his headphones, still with his straw hat flat on his face, he would suddenly break the silence:
“What are you doing?”
“No, you’re not.”
I was dying to tell him.
“Private,” I replied.
“So you won’t tell me?”
“So I won’t tell you.”
“So he won’t tell me,” he repeated, pensively, as if explaining to someone about me.
How I loved the way he repeated what I myself had just repeated. It made me think of a caress, or of a gesture, which happens to be totally accidental the first time but becomes intentional the second time and more so yet the third. It reminded me of the way Mafalda would make my bed every morning, first by folding the top sheet over the blanket, then by folding the sheet back again to cover the pillows on top of the blanket, and once more yet when she folded the whole thing over the bedspread—back and forth until I knew that tucked in between these multiple folds were tokens of something at once pious and indulgent, like acquiescence in an instant of passion.
Silence was always light and unobtrusive on those afternoons.
“I’m not telling,” I said.
“Then I’m going back to sleep,” he’d say.
My heart was racing. He must have known.
Profound silence again. Moments later:
“This is heaven.”
And I wouldn’t hear him say another word for at least an hour.
There was nothing I loved more in life than to sit at my table and pore over my transcriptions while he lay on his belly marking pages he’d pick up every morning from Signora Milani, his translator in B.
“Listen to this,” he’d sometimes say, removing his headphones, breaking the oppressive silence of those long sweltering summer mornings. “Just listen to this drivel.” And he’d proceed to read aloud something he couldn’t believe he had written months earlier.
“Does it make any sense to you? Not to me.”
“Maybe it did when you wrote it,” I said.
He thought for a while as though weighing my words.
“That’s the kindest thing anyone’s said to me in months”—spoken ever so earnestly, as if he was hit by a sudden revelation and was taking what I’d said to mean much more than I thought it did. I felt ill at ease, looked away, and finally muttered the first thing that came to mind: “Kind?” I asked.