Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
Rather than join some of the people we knew at a table in the caffès, we stood in line to buy two ice creams. She asked me to buy her cigarettes as well.
Then, with our ice-cream cones, we began to walk casually through the crowded piazzetta, threading our way along one street, then another, and still another. I liked it when cobblestones glistened in the dark, liked the way she and I ambled about lazily as we walked our bikes through town, listening to the muffled chatter of TV stations coming from behind open windows. The bookstore was still open, and I asked her if she minded. No, she didn’t mind, she’d come in with me. We leaned our bikes against the wall. The beaded fly curtain gave way to a smoky, musty room littered with overbrimming ashtrays. The owner was thinking of closing soon, but the Schubert quartet was still playing and a couple in their mid-twenties, tourists, were thumbing through books in the English-language section, probably looking for a novel with local color. How different from that morning when there hadn’t been a soul about and blinding sunlight and the smell of fresh coffee had filled the shop. Marzia looked over my shoulder while I picked up a book of poetry on the table and began to read one of the poems. I was about to turn the page when she said she hadn’t finished reading yet. I liked this. Seeing the couple next to us about to purchase an Italian novel in translation, I interrupted their conversation and advised against it. “This is much, much better. It’s set in Sicily, not here, but it’s probably the best Italian novel written this century.” “We’ve seen the movie,” said the girl. “Is it as good as Calvino, though?” I shrugged my shoulders. Marzia was still interested in the same poem and was actually rereading it. “Calvino is nothing in comparison—lint and tinsel. But I’m just a kid, and what do I know?”
Two other young adults, wearing stylish summer sports jackets, without ties, were discussing literature with the owner, all three of them smoking. On the table next to the cashier stood a clutter of mostly emptied wine glasses, and next to them one large bottle of port. The tourists, I noticed, were holding emptied glasses. Obviously, they’d been offered wine during the book party. The owner looked over to us and with a silent glance that wished to apologize for interrupting asked if we wanted some port as well. I looked at Marzia and shrugged back, meaning, She doesn’t seem to want to. The owner, still silent, pointed to the bottle and shook his head in mock disapproval, to suggest it was a pity to throw away such good port tonight, so why not help him finish it before closing the shop. I finally accepted, as did Marzia. Out of politeness, I asked what was the book being celebrated tonight. Another man, whom I hadn’t noticed because he’d been reading something in the tiny alcove, named the book: Se l’amore. If Love. “Is it good?” I asked. “Pure junk,” he replied. “I should know. I wrote it.”