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

But Oliver’s invitations had become vertiginous. Chiara and her sister wanted him at least twice a week. A cartoonist from Brussels, who rented a villa all summer long, wanted him for his exclusive Sunday soupers to which writers and scholars from the environs were always invited. Then the Moreschis, from three villas down, the Malaspinas from N., and the occasional acquaintance struck up at one of the bars on the piazzetta, or at Le Danzing. All this to say nothing of his poker and bridge playing at night, which flourished by means totally unknown to us.

His life, like his papers, even when it gave every impression of being chaotic, was always meticulously compartmentalized. Sometimes he skipped dinner altogether and would simply tell Mafalda, “Esco, I’m going out.”

His Esco, I realized soon enough, was just another version of Later! A summary and unconditional goodbye, spoken not as you were leaving, but after you were out the door. You said it with your back to those you were leaving behind. I felt sorry for those on the receiving end who wished to appeal, to plead.

Not knowing whether he’d show up at the dinner table was torture. But bearable. Not daring to ask whether he’d be there was the real ordeal. Having my heart jump when I suddenly heard his voice or saw him seated at his seat when I’d almost given up hoping he’d be among us tonight eventually blossomed like a poisoned flower. Seeing him and thinking he’d join us for dinner tonight only to hear his peremptory Esco taught me there are certain wishes that must be clipped like wings off a thriving butterfly.

I wanted him gone from our home so as to be done with him.

I wanted him dead too, so that if I couldn’t stop thinking about him and worrying about when would be the next time I’d see him, at least his death would put an end to it. I wanted to kill him myself, even, so as to let him know how much his mere existence had come to bother me, how unbearable his ease with everything and everyone, taking all things in stride, his tireless I’m-okay-with-this-and-that, his springing across the gate to the beach when everyone else opened the latch first, to say nothing of his bathing suits, his spot in paradise, his cheeky Later!, his lip-smacking love for apricot juice. If I didn’t kill him, then I’d cripple him for life, so that he’d be with us in a wheelchair and never go back to the States. If he were in a wheelchair, I would always know where he was, and he’d be easy to find. I would feel superior to him and become his master, now that he was crippled.

Then it hit me that I could have killed myself instead, or hurt myself badly enough and let him know why I’d done it. If I hurt my face, I’d want him to look at me and wonder why, why might anyone do this to himself, until, years and years later—yes, Later!—he’d finally piece the puzzle together and beat his head against the wall.