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

I shook my head.

“They say I may not live long.”

“Why do you say that?” He looked totally stunned. “How do you know?”

“Everyone knows. Because I have leukemia.”

“But you’re so beautiful, so healthy-looking, and so smart,” he protested.

“As I said, a bad joke.”

Oliver, who was now kneeling on the grass, had literally dropped his book on the ground.

“Maybe you can come over one day and read to me,” she said. “I’m really very nice—and you look very nice too. Well, goodbye.”

She climbed over the wall. “And sorry if I spooked you—well—”

You could almost watch her trying to withdraw the ill-chosen metaphor.

If the music hadn’t already brought us closer together at least for a few hours that day, Vimini’s apparition did.

We spoke about her all afternoon. I didn’t have to look for anything to say. He did most of the talking and the asking. Oliver was mesmerized. For once, I wasn’t speaking about myself.

Soon they became friends. She was always up in the morning after he returned from his morning jog or swim, and together they would walk over to our gate, and clamber down the stairs ever so cautiously, and head to one of the huge rocks, where they sat and talked until it was time for breakfast. Never had I seen a friendship so beautiful or more intense. I was never jealous of it, and no one, certainly not I, dared come between them or eavesdrop on them. I shall never forget how she would give him her hand once they’d opened the gate to the stairway leading to the rocks. She seldom ever ventured that far unless accompanied by someone older.

 

 

When I think back to that summer, I can never sort the sequence of events. There are a few key scenes. Otherwise, all I remember are the “repeat” moments. The morning ritual before and after breakfast: Oliver lying on the grass, or by the pool, I sitting at my table. Then the swim or the jog. Then his grabbing a bicycle and riding to see the translator in town. Lunch at the large, shaded dining table in the other garden, or lunch indoors, always a guest or two for lunch drudgery. The afternoon hours, splendid and lush with abundant sun and silence.

Then there are the leftover scenes: my father always wondering what I did with my time, why I was always alone; my mother urging me to make new friends if the old ones didn’t interest me, but above all to stop hanging around the house all the time—books, books, books, always books, and all these scorebooks, both of them begging me to play more tennis, go dancing more often, get to know people, find out for myself why others are so necessary in life and not just foreign bodies to be sidled up to. Do crazy things if you must, they told me all the while, forever prying to unearth the mysterious, telltale signs of heartbreak which, in their clumsy, intrusive, devoted way, both would instantly wish to heal, as if I were a soldier who had strayed into their garden and needed his wound immediately stanched or else he’d die. You can always talk to me. I was your age once, my father used to say. The things you feel and think only you have felt, believe me, I’ve lived and suffered through all of them, and more than once—some I’ve never gotten over and others I’m as ignorant about as you are today, yet I know almost every bend, every toll-booth, every chamber in the human heart.