Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
I don’t know, I replied.
Are they doing it, then?
Didn’t know that either.
I’d love to be in his shoes.
But I was in heaven. That he hadn’t forgotten our conversation about Celan gave me a shot of tonic I hadn’t experienced in many, many days. It spilled over everything I touched. Just a word, a gaze, and I was in heaven. To be happy like this maybe wasn’t so difficult after all. All I had to do was find the source of happiness in me and not rely on others to supply it the next time.
I remembered the scene in the Bible when Jacob asks Rachel for water and on hearing her speak the words that were prophesied for him, throws up his hands to heaven and kisses the ground by the well. Me Jewish, Celan Jewish, Oliver Jewish—we were in a half ghetto, half oasis, in an otherwise cruel and unflinching world where fuddling around strangers suddenly stops, where we misread no one and no one misjudges us, where one person simply knows the other and knows him so thoroughly that to be taken away from such intimacy is galut, the Hebrew word for exile and dispersal. Was he my home, then, my homecoming? You are my homecoming. When I’m with you and we’re well together, there is nothing more I want. You make me like who I am, who I become when you’re with me, Oliver. If there is any truth in the world, it lies when I’m with you, and if I find the courage to speak my truth to you one day, remind me to light a candle in thanksgiving at every altar in Rome.
It never occurred to me that if one word from him could make me so happy, another could just as easily crush me, that if I didn’t want to be unhappy, I should learn to beware of such small joys as well.
But on that same night I used the heady elation of the moment to speak to Marzia. We danced past midnight, then I walked her back by way of the shore. Then we stopped. I said I was tempted to take a quick swim, expecting she would hold me back. But she said she too loved swimming at night. Our clothes were off in a second. “You’re not with me because you’re angry with Chiara?”
“Why am I angry with Chiara?”
“Because of him.”
I shook my head, feigning a puzzled look meant to show that I couldn’t begin to guess where she’d fished such a notion from.
She asked me to turn around and not stare while she used her sweater to towel her body dry. I pretended to sneak a clandestine glance, but was too obedient not to do as I was told. I didn’t dare ask her not to look when I put my clothes on but was glad she looked the other way. When we were no longer naked, I took her hand and kissed her on the palm, then kissed the space between her fingers, then her mouth. She was slow to kiss me back, but then she didn’t want to stop.