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

“Listen. I do the tomatoes, you do the driving, and we’re all happy.”

“You don’t understand. In my day you moved the tomatoes at some point, from one place to another, from one place to the other”—he insisted—“and you planted basil nearby. But of course you people who’ve been in the army know everything.”

“That’s right.” Anchise was ignoring him.

“Of course I’m right. No wonder they didn’t keep you in the army.”

“That’s right. They didn’t keep me in the army.”

Both of them greeted us. The gardener handed Oliver his bicycle. “I straightened the wheel last night, it took some doing. I also put some air in the tires.”

Manfredi couldn’t have been more peeved.

“From now on, I fix the wheels, you grow the tomatoes,” said the piqued driver.

Anchise gave a wry smile. Oliver smiled back.

Once we had reached the cypress lane that led onto the main road to town, I asked Oliver, “Doesn’t he give you the creeps?”

“Who?”

“Anchise.”

“No, why? I fell the other day on my way back and scraped myself pretty badly. Anchise insisted on applying some sort of witch’s brew. He also fixed the bike for me.”

With one hand on the handlebar he lifted his shirt and exposed a huge scrape and bruise on his left hip.

“Still gives me the creeps,” I said, repeating my aunt’s verdict.

“Just a lost soul, really.”

I would have touched, caressed, worshipped that scrape.

On our way, I noticed that Oliver was taking his time. He wasn’t in his usual rush, no speeding, no scaling the hill with his usual athletic zeal. Nor did he seem in a rush to go back to his paperwork, or join his friends on the beach, or, as was usually the case, ditch me. Perhaps he had nothing better to do. This was my moment in heaven and, young as I was, I knew it wouldn’t last and that I should at least enjoy it for what it was rather than ruin it with my oft-cranked resolution to firm up our friendship or take it to another plane. There’ll never be a friendship, I thought, this is nothing, just a minute of grace. Zwischen Immer und Nie. Zwischen Immer und Nie. Between always and never. Celan.

When we arrived at the piazzetta overlooking the sea, Oliver stopped to buy cigarettes. He had started smoking Gauloises. I had never tried Gauloises and asked if I could. He took out a cerino from the box, cupped his hands very near my face, and lit my cigarette. “Not bad, right?” “Not bad at all.” They’d remind me of him, of this day, I thought, realizing that in less than a month he’d be totally gone, without a trace.

This was probably the first time I allowed myself to count down his remaining days in B.

“Just take a look at this,” he said as we ambled with our bikes in the midmorning sun toward the edge of the piazzetta overlooking the rolling hills below.