Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
“I’ll go with you to B.,” he said. “But—no speeches.”
“No speeches, nothing, not a word.”
“What do you say we grab our bikes in half an hour?”
Oh, Oliver, I said to myself on my way to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat, I’ll do anything for you. I’ll ride up the hill with you, and I’ll race you up the road to town, and won’t point out the sea when we reach the berm, and I’ll wait at the bar in the piazzetta while you meet with your translator, and I’ll touch the memorial to the unknown soldier who died on the Piave, and I won’t utter a word, I’ll show you the way to the bookstore, and we’ll park our bikes outside the shop and go in together and leave together, and I promise, I promise, I promise, there’ll be no hint of Shelley, or Monet, nor will I ever stoop to tell you that two nights ago you added an annual ring to my soul.
I am going to enjoy this for its own sake, I kept telling myself. We are two young men traveling by bike, and we’re going to go to town and come back, and we’ll swim, play tennis, eat, drink, and late at night run into each other on the very same piazzetta where two mornings ago so much but really nothing was said between us. He’ll be with a girl, I’ll be with a girl, and we’re even going to be happy. Every day, if I don’t mess things up, we can ride into town and be back, and even if this is all he is willing to give, I’ll take it—I’ll settle for less, even, if only to live with these threadbare scraps.
We rode our bicycles to town that morning and were done with his translator before long, but even after a hasty coffee at the bar, the bookstore wasn’t open yet. So we lingered on the piazzetta, I staring at the war memorial, he looking out at the view of the speckling bay, neither of us saying a word about Shelley’s ghost, which shadowed our every step through town and beckoned louder than Hamlet’s father. Without thinking, he asked how anyone could drown in such a sea. I smiled right away, because I caught his attempt to backpedal, which instantly brought complicit smiles to our faces, like a passionate wet kiss in the midst of a conversation between two individuals who, without thinking, had reached for each other’s lips through the scorching red desert both had intentionally placed between them so as not to grope for each other’s nakedness.
“I thought we weren’t going to mention—,” I began.
“No speeches. I know.”
When we returned to the bookshop, we left our bikes outside and went in.
This felt special. Like showing someone your private chapel, your secret haunt, the place where, as with the berm, one comes to be alone, to dream of others. This is where I dreamed of you before you came into my life.