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

His admission, which seemed to open up all the sluiceways between us, was precisely what drowned my budding hopes. Where would we go from here? What was there to add? And what would happen the next time we pretended not to speak but were no longer sure the frost between us was still sham?

We spoke awhile longer, then the conversation petered out. Now that we had put our cards on the table, it felt like small talk.

“So this is where Monet came to paint.”

“I’ll show you at home. We have a book with wonderful reproductions of the area around here.”

“Yes, you’ll have to show me.”

He was playing the role of the patronizing understudy. I hated it.

Each leaning on one arm, we both stared out at the view.

“You’re the luckiest kid in the world,” he said.

“You don’t know the half of it.”

I let him ponder my statement. Then, perhaps to fill the silence that was becoming unbearable, I blurted out, “So much of it is wrong, though.”

“What? Your family?”

“That too.”

“Living here all summer long, reading by yourself, meeting all those dinner drudges your father dredges up at every meal?” He was making fun of me again.

I smirked. No, that wasn’t it either.

He paused a moment.

“Us, you mean.”

I did not reply.

“Let’s see, then—” And before I knew it, he sidled up to me. We were too close, I thought, I’d never been so close to him except in a dream or when he cupped his hand to light my cigarette. If he brought his ear any closer he’d hear my heart. I’d seen it written in novels but never believed it until now. He stared me right in the face, as though he liked my face and wished to study it and to linger on it, then he touched my nether lip with his finger and let it travel left and right and right and left again and again as I lay there, watching him smile in a way that made me fear anything might happen now and there’d be no turning back, that this was his way of asking, and here was my chance to say no or to say something and play for time, so that I might still debate the matter with myself, now that it had reached this point—except that I didn’t have any time left, because he brought his lips to my mouth, a warm, conciliatory, I’ll-meet-you-halfway-but-no-further kiss till he realized how famished mine was. I wished I knew how to calibrate my kiss the way he did. But passion allows us to hide more, and at that moment on Monet’s berm, if I wished to hide everything about me in this kiss, I was also desperate to forget the kiss by losing myself in it.

“Better now?” he asked afterward.

I did not answer but lifted my face to his and kissed him again, almost savagely, not because I was filled with passion or even because his kiss still lacked the zeal I was looking for, but because I was not so sure our kiss had convinced me of anything about myself. I was not even sure I had enjoyed it as much as I’d expected and needed to test it again, so that even in the act itself, I needed to test the test. My mind was drifting to the most mundane things. So much denial? a two-bit disciple of Freud would have observed. I squelched my doubts with a yet more violent kiss. I did not want passion, I did not want pleasure. Perhaps I didn’t even want proof. And I did not want words, small talk, big talk, bike talk, book talk, any of it. Just the sun, the grass, the occasional sea breeze, and the smell of his body fresh from his chest, from his neck and his armpits. Just take me and molt me and turn me inside out, till, like a character in Ovid, I become one with your lust, that’s what I wanted. Give me a blindfold, hold my hand, and don’t ask me to think—will you do that for me?