Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)
Wasn’t this what he might be doing as well? Going from one to the other.
And then a terrible panic seized me: was midnight going to be a talk, a clearing of the air between us—as in, buck up, lighten up, grow up!
But why wait for midnight, then? Who ever picks midnight to have such a conversation?
Or was midnight going to be midnight?
What to wear at midnight?
The day went as I feared. Oliver found a way to leave without telling me immediately after breakfast and did not come back until lunch. He sat in his usual place next to me. I tried to make light conversation a few times but realized that this was going to be another one of our let’s-not-speak-to-each-other days when we both tried to make it very clear that we were no longer just pretending to be quiet.
After lunch, I went to take a nap. I heard him follow me upstairs and shut his door.
Later I called Marzia. We met on the tennis court. Luckily, no one was there, so it was quiet and we played for hours under the scorching sun, which both of us loved. Sometimes, we would sit on the old bench in the shade and listen to the crickets. Mafalda brought us refreshments and then warned us that she was too old for this, that the next time we’d have to fetch whatever we wanted ourselves. “But we never asked you for anything,” I protested. “You shouldn’t have drunk, then.” And she shuffled away, having scored her point.
Vimini, who liked to watch people play, did not come that day. She must have been with Oliver at their favorite spot.
I loved August weather. The town was quieter than usual in the late summer weeks. By then, everyone had left for le vacanze, and the occasional tourists were usually gone before seven in the evening. I loved the afternoons best: the scent of rosemary, the heat, the birds, the cicadas, the sway of palm fronds, the silence that fell like a light linen shawl on an appallingly sunny day, all of these highlighted by the walk down to the shore and the walk back upstairs to shower. I liked looking up to our house from the tennis court and seeing the empty balconies bask in the sun, knowing that from any one of them you could spot the limitless sea. This was my balcony, my world. From where I sat now, I could look around me and say, Here is our tennis court, there our garden, our orchard, our shed, our house, and below is our wharf—everyone and everything I care for is here. My family, my instruments, my books, Mafalda, Marzia, Oliver.
That afternoon, as I sat with Marzia with my hand resting on her thighs and knees, it did occur to me that I was, in Oliver’s words, one of the luckiest persons on earth. There was no saying how long all this would last, just as there was no sense in second-guessing how the day might turn out, or the night. Every minute felt as though stretched on tenterhooks. Everything could snap in a flash.