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

I took a shower and put on clean clothes. Downstairs, everyone was having cocktails. Last night’s two guests were there again, being entertained by my mother, while a newcomer, another reporter, was busily listening to Oliver’s description of his book on Heraclitus. He had perfected the art of giving a stranger a five-sentence précis that seemed invented on the spur of the moment for the benefit of that particular listener. “Are you staying?” asked my mother.

“No, I’m going to see Marzia.”

My mother gave me an apprehensive look, and ever so discreetly began to shake her head, meaning, I don’t approve, she’s a good girl, you should be going out together as a group. “Leave him alone, you and your groups,” was my father’s rebuttal, which set me free. “As it is, he’s shut up in the house all day. Let him do as he pleases. As he pleases!”

If he only knew.

And what if he did know?

My father would never object. He might make a face at first, then take it back.

It never occurred to me to hide from Oliver what I was doing with Marzia. Bakers and butchers don’t compete, I thought. Nor, in all likelihood, would he have given it another thought himself.

That night Marzia and I went to the movies. We had ice cream in the piazzetta. And again at her parents’ home.

“I want to go to the bookstore again,” she said when she walked me toward the gate to their garden. “But I don’t like going to the movies with you.”

“You want to go around closing time tomorrow?”

“Why not?” She wanted to repeat the other night.

She kissed me. What I wanted instead was to go to the bookstore when it had just opened in the morning, with the option of going there that same night.

When I returned home the guests were just about to leave. Oliver was not home.

Serves me right, I thought.

I went to my room and, for lack of anything else to do, opened my diary.

Last night’s entry: “I’ll see you at midnight.” You watch. He won’t even be there. “Get lost”—that’s what “Grow up” means. I wish I’d never said anything.

On the nervous doodlings I had traced around these words before heading out to his room, I was trying to recover the memory of last night’s jitters. Perhaps I wanted to relive the night’s anxieties, both to mask tonight’s and to remind myself that if my worst fears had suddenly been dispelled once I’d entered his room, perhaps they might end no differently tonight and be as easily subdued once I’d heard his footsteps.

But I couldn’t even remember last night’s anxieties. They were completely overshadowed by what followed them and seemed to belong to a segment of time to which I had no access whatsoever. Everything about last night had suddenly vanished. I remembered nothing. I tried to whisper “Get lost” to myself as a way of jump-starting my memory. The words had seemed so real last night. Now they were just two words struggling to make sense.