Call Me by Your Name

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Book: Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Free Book Online
Authors: André Aciman
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General, Gay
I’d ever be mad enough to try the same thing again.
    That evening I caught myself keeping careful tabs on where everyone was in the house. The shameful urge was upon me sooner than I’d ever imagined. It would have taken nothing to sneak back upstairs.
     
     
    While reading in my father’s library one evening, I came upon the story of a handsome young knight who is madly in love with a princess. She too is in love with him, though she seems not to be entirely aware of it, and despite the friendship that blossoms between them, or perhaps because of that very friendship, he finds himself so humbled and speechless owing to her forbidding candor that he is totally unable to bring up the subject of his love. One day he asks her point-blank: “Is it better to speak or die?”
    I’d never even have the courage to ask such a question.
    But what I’d spoken into his pillow revealed to me that, at least for a moment, I’d rehearsed the truth, gotten it out into the open, that I had in fact enjoyed speaking it, and if he happened to pass by at the very moment I was muttering things I wouldn’t have dared speak to my own face in the mirror, I wouldn’t have cared, wouldn’t have minded—let him know, let him see, let him pass judgment too if he wants—just don’t tell the world—even if you’re the world for me right now, even if in your eyes stands a horrified, scornful world. That steely look of yours, Oliver, I’d rather die than face it once I’ve told you.

Part 2
     

Monet’s Berm

 
    Toward the end of July things finally came to a head. It seemed clear that after Chiara there had been a succession of cotte , crushes, mini-crushes, one-night crushes, flings, who knows. To me all of it boiled down to one thing only: his cock had been everywhere in B. Every girl had touched it, that cock of his. It had been in who knows how many vaginas, how many mouths. The image amused me. It never bothered me to think of him between a girl’s legs as she lay facing him, his broad, tanned, glistening shoulders moving up and down as I’d imagined him that afternoon when I too had wrapped my legs around his pillow.
    Just looking at his shoulders when he happened to be going over his manuscript in his heaven made me wonder where they’d been last night. How effortless and free the movement of his shoulder blades each time he shifted, how thoughtlessly they caught the sun. Did they taste of the sea to the woman who had lain under him last night and bitten into him? Or of his suntan lotion? Or of the smell that had risen from his sheets when I went into them?
    How I wished I had shoulders like his. Maybe I wouldn’t long for them if I had them?
    Muvi star .
    Did I want to be like him? Did I want to be him? Or did I just want to have him? Or are “being” and “having” thoroughly inaccurate verbs in the twisted skein of desire, where having someone’s body to touch and being that someone we’re longing to touch are one and the same, just opposite banks on a river that passes from us to them, back to us and over to them again in this perpetual circuit where the chambers of the heart, like the trapdoors of desire, and the wormholes of time, and the false-bottomed drawer we call identity share a beguiling logic according to which the shortest distance between real life and the life unlived, between who we are and what we want, is a twisted staircase designed with the impish cruelty of M. C. Escher. When had they separated us, you and me, Oliver? And why did I know it, and why didn’t you? Is it your body that I want when I think of lying next to it every night or do I want to slip into it and own it as if it were my own, as I did when I put on your bathing suit and took it off again, all the while craving, as I craved nothing more in my life that afternoon, to feel you slip inside me as if my entire body were your bathing suit, your home? You in me, me in you…
    Then came the day. We were in the garden, I told him of the

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