Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
“But first,” he added, with something of a smirk on his face, “I need to see Milani for a short while. But tonight, I promise, I’ll be the best-behaved boy on the whole Riviera.”
Which was what happened. After a brief escape to B., he was the “green” Oliver all day, a child no older than Vimini, with all her candor and none of her barbs. He also had an enormous selection of flowers sent from the local flower shop. “You’ve lost your mind,” my mother said. After lunch, he said he would take a nap—the first, and last, during his entire stay with us. And indeed he did nap, because when he woke up at around five, he looked as flush as someone who had lost ten years of his life: ruddy cheeks, eyes all rested, the gauntness gone. He could have passed for my age. As promised, that night we all sat down—there were no guests—and watched television romances. The best part was how everyone, including Vimini, who wandered in, and Mafalda, who had her “seat” near the door of the living room, talked back to every scene, predicted its end, by turns outraged by and derisive of the stupidity of the story, the actors, the characters. Why, what would you have done in her place? I would have left him, that’s what. And you, Mafalda? Well, in my opinion, I think she should have accepted him the first time he asked and not shilly-shallied so long. My point exactly! She got what was coming to her. That she did.
We were interrupted only once. It was a phone call from the States. Oliver liked to keep his telephone conversations extremely short, curt almost. We heard him utter his unavoidable Later!, hang up, and, before we knew it, he was back asking what he’d missed. He never commented after hanging up. We never asked. Everyone volunteered to fill him in on the plot at the same time, including my father, whose version of what Oliver had missed was less accurate than Mafalda’s. There was a lot of noise, with the result that we missed more of the film than Oliver had during his brief call. Much laughter. At some point, while we were intently focused on the high drama, Anchise walked into the living room and, unrolling a soaking old T-shirt, produced the evening’s catch: a gigantic sea bass, instantly destined for tomorrow’s lunch and dinner, with plenty for everyone who cared to join in. Father decided to pour some grappa for everyone, including a few drops for Vimini.
That night we all went to bed early. Exhaustion was the order of the day. I must have slept very soundly, because when I awoke they were already removing breakfast from the table.
I found him lying on the grass with a dictionary to his left and a yellow pad directly under his chest. I was hoping he’d look gaunt or be in the mood he’d been in all day yesterday. But he was already hard at work. I felt awkward breaking the silence. I was tempted to fall back on my habit of pretending not to notice him, but that seemed hard to do now, especially when he’d told me two days earlier that he’d seen through my little act.