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

And then I realized it. What I was experiencing tonight was unlike anything I’d experienced in my life.

This was much worse. I didn’t even know what to call this.

On second thought, I didn’t even know what to call last night’s jitters either.

I had taken a giant step last night. Yet here I was, no wiser and no more sure of things than I’d been before feeling him all over me. We might as well not even have slept together.

At least last night there was the fear of failing, the fear of being thrown out or called the very name I had used on others. Now that I had overcome that fear, had this anxiety been present all along, though latent, like a presage and a warning of killer reefs beyond the squall?

And why did I care where he was? Wasn’t this what I wanted for both of us—butchers and bakers and all that? Why feel so unhinged just because he wasn’t there or because he’d given me the slip, why sense that all I was doing now was waiting for him—waiting, waiting, waiting?

What was it about waiting that was beginning to feel like torture?

If you are with someone, Oliver, it is time to come home. No questions asked, I promise, just don’t keep me waiting.

If he doesn’t show up in ten minutes, I’ll do something.

Ten minutes later, feeling helpless and hating myself for feeling helpless, I resolved to wait another this-time-for-real ten minutes.

Twenty minutes later, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I put on a sweater, walked off the balcony, and came downstairs. I’d go to B., if I had to, and check for myself. I was on my way to the bike shed, already debating whether to head out to N. first, where people tended to stay up and party much later than in B., and was cursing myself for not putting air in the tires earlier this morning, when suddenly something told me I should stop dead in my tracks and try not to disturb Anchise, who slept in the hut nearby. Sinister Anchise—everyone said he was sinister. Had I suspected it all along? I must have. The fall from the bike, Anchise’s peasant ointment, the kindness with which he took care of him and cleaned up the scrape.

But down below along the rocky shore, in the moonlight, I caught sight of him. He was sitting on one of the higher rocks, wearing his sailor’s white-and-blue-striped sweater with the buttons always undone along his shoulder which he’d purchased in Sicily earlier in the summer. He was doing nothing, just hugging his knees, listening to the ripples lap against the rocks below him. Looking at him now from the balustrade, I felt something so tender for him that it reminded me how eagerly I had rushed to B. to catch him before he’d even made it into the post office. This was the best person I’d ever known in my life. I had chosen him well. I opened the gate and skipped down the several rocks and reached him.