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

Farther out and way below was a magnificent view of the sea with scarcely a few stripes of foam streaking the bay like giant dolphins breaking the surf. A tiny bus was working its way uphill, while three uniformed bikers straggled behind it, obviously complaining of the fumes. “You do know who is said to have drowned near here,” he said.

“Shelley.”

“And do you know what his wife Mary and friends did when they found his body?”

“Cor cordium, heart of hearts,” I replied, referring to the moment when a friend had seized Shelley’s heart before the flames had totally engulfed his swollen body as it was being cremated on the shore. Why was he quizzing me?

“Is there anything you don’t know?”

I looked at him. This was my moment. I could seize it or I could lose it, but either way I knew I would never live it down. Or I could gloat over his compliment—but live to regret everything else. This was probably the first time in my life that I spoke to an adult without planning some of what I was going to say. I was too nervous to plan anything.

“I know nothing, Oliver. Nothing, just nothing.”

“You know more than anyone around here.”

Why was he returning my near-tragic tone with bland ego-boosting?

“If you only knew how little I know about the things that really matter.”

I was treading water, trying neither to drown nor to swim to safety, just staying in place, because here was the truth—even if I couldn’t speak the truth, or even hint at it, yet I could swear it lay around us, the way we say of a necklace we’ve just lost while swimming: I know it’s down there somewhere. If he knew, if he only knew that I was giving him every chance to put two and two together and come up with a number bigger than infinity.

But if he understood, then he must have suspected, and if he suspected he would have been there himself, watching me from across a parallel lane with his steely, hostile, glass-eyed, trenchant, all-knowing gaze.

He must have hit on something, though God knows what. Perhaps he was trying not to seem taken aback.

“What things that matter?”

Was he being disingenuous?

“You know what things. By now you of all people should know.”

Silence.

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“Because I thought you should know.”

“Because you thought I should know.” He repeated my words slowly, trying to take in their full meaning, all the while sorting them out, playing for time by repeating the words. The iron, I knew, was burning hot.

“Because I want you to know,” I blurted out. “Because there is no one else I can say it to but you.”

There, I had said it.

Was I making any sense?

I was about to interrupt and sidetrack the conversation by saying something about the sea and the weather tomorrow and whether it might be a good idea to sail out to E. as my father kept promising this time every year.