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

It was his turn to look for excuses to dodge the subject. I could easily let him off the hook if he wanted. We could talk about the sea, the Piave, or fragments of Heraclitus, such as “Nature loves to hide” or “I went in search of myself.” And if not these, there was the trip to E. we’d been discussing for days now. There was also the chamber music ensemble due to arrive any day.

On our way we passed a shop where my mother always ordered flowers. As a child I liked to watch the large storefront window awash in a perpetual curtain of water which came sliding down ever so gently, giving the shop an enchanted, mysterious aura that reminded me of how in many films the screen would blur to announce that a flashback was about to occur.

“I wish I hadn’t spoken,” I finally said.

I knew as soon as I’d said it that I’d broken the exiguous spell between us.

“I’m going to pretend you never did.”

Well, that was an approach I’d never expected from a man who was so okay with the world. I’d never heard such a sentence used in our house.

“Does this mean we’re on speaking terms—but not really?”

He thought about it.

“Look, we can’t talk about such things. We really can’t.”

He slung his bag around him and we were off downhill.

Fifteen minutes ago, I was in total agony, every nerve ending, every emotion bruised, trampled, crushed as in Mafalda’s mortar, all of it pulverized till you couldn’t tell fear from anger from the merest trickle of desire. But at that time there was something to look forward to. Now that we had laid our cards on the table, the secrecy, the shame were gone, but with them so was that dash of unspoken hope that had kept everything alive these weeks.

Only the scenery and the weather could buoy my spirits now. As would the ride together on the empty country road, which was entirely ours at this time of day and where the sun started pounding exposed patches along the route. I told him to follow me, I’d show him a spot most tourists and strangers had never seen.

“If you have time,” I added, not wishing to be pushy this time.

“I have time.” It was spoken with a noncommittal lilt in his voice, as though he had found the overplayed tact in my words slightly comical. But perhaps this was a small concession to make up for not discussing the matter at hand.

We veered off the main road and headed toward the edge of the cliff.

“This,” I said by way of a preface meant to keep his interest alive, “is the spot where Monet came to paint.”

Tiny, stunted palm trees and gnarled olive trees studded the copse. Then through the trees, on an incline leading toward the very edge of the cliff, was a knoll partly shaded by tall marine pines. I leaned my bike against one of the trees, he did the same, and I showed him the way up to the berm. “Now take a look,” I said, extremely pleased, as if revealing something more eloquent than anything I might say in my favor.