I got up and reached for one of the peaches, opened it half-way with my thumbs, pushed the pit out on my desk, and gently brought the fuzzy, blush-colored peach to my groin, and then began to press into it till the parted fruit slid down my cock. If Anchise only knew, if Anchise knew what I was doing to the fruit he cultivated with such slavish devotion every day, him and his large straw hat and his long, gnarled fingers that were always ripping out weeds from the parched earth. His peaches were more apricots than peaches, except larger, juicier. I had already tried the animal kingdom. Now I was moving to the kingdom of plants. Next would come minerals. The idea almost made me chuckle. The fruit was leaking all over my cock. If Oliver walked in on me now, I'd let him suck me as he had this morning. If Marzia came, I'd let her help me finish the job. The peach was soft and firm, and when I finally succeeded in tearing it apart with my cock, I saw that its reddened core reminded me not just of an anus but og a vagina, so that holding each half in either hand firmly against my cock, I began to rub mysef, thinking of no one and of everyone, including the poor peach, which had no idea what was being done to it except that it had to play along and probably in the end took some pleasure in the act as well, till I thought I heard it say to me, Fuck me, Elio, fuck me harder, and after a moment, Harder, I said! whiled I scanned my mind for images from Ovid - wasn't there a character who had turned into a peach and, if there wasn't, couldn't I make one up on the spot, say, an ill-fated young man and young girl who in their peachy beauty had spurned an envious deity who had turned them into a peach tree, and only now, after three thousand years, were being given what had been so unjustly taken away from them, as they murmured, I'll die when you're done, and you mustn't be done, must never be done? The story so aroused me that practically without warning the orgasm was almost upon me. I sensed I could just stop then and there or, with one more stroke, I could come, which I finally did, carefully, aiming the spurt into the reddened core of the open peach as if in a ritual of insemination.
What a crazy thing this was. I let myself hang back, holding the fruit in both hands, grateful that I hadn't gotten the sheet dirty with either juice or come. The bruised and damaged peach, like a rape victim, lay on its side on my desk, shamed, loyal, aching, and confused, struggling not to spill what I'd left inside. It reminded me that I had probably looked no different on his bed last night after he'd come inside me for the first time.
I put on a tank top but decided to stay naked and get under the sheet.
I awoke to the sound of someone unhooking the latch of the shutters and then hooking it back behind him. As in my dream once, he was tiptoeing toward me, no in an effort to surprise me, but so as not to wake me up. I knew it was Oliver and, with my eyes still closed, raised my arm to him. He grabbed it and kissed it, then lifted the sheet and seemed surprised to find me naked. He immediately brought his lips to where they'd promised to return to this morning. He loved the sticky taste. What had I done?
I told him and pointed to the bruised evidence sitting on my desk.
"Let me see."
He stood up and asked if I'd left it for him.
Perhaps I had. Or had I simply put off thinking how to dispose of it?
"Is this what I think it is?"
I nodded naughtily in mock shame.
"Any idea how much work Anchise puts into each one of these?"
He was joking, but it felt as though he, or someone through him, was asking the same question about the work my parents had put into me.
He brought the half peach to bed, making certain not to spill its contents as he took his clothes off.
"I'm sick, aren't I?" I asked.
"No, you're not sick - I wish everyone were as sick as you. Want to see sick?"
What was he up to? I hesitated to say yes.
"Just think of the number of people who've come before you - you, your grandfather, your great-great-grandfather, and all the skipped generation of Elios before you, and those from places far away, all squeezed into this trickle that makes you who you are. Now may I taste it?"
I shook my head.
He dipped a finger into the core of the each and brought it to his mouth.
"Please don't." This was more than I could bear.
"I never could stand my own. But this is yours. Please explain."
"It makes me feel terrible."
He simply shrugged my comment away.
"Look, you don't have to do this. I'm the one who came after you. I sought you out, everything that happened is because of me - you don't have to do this."
"Nonsense. I wanted you from day one. I just hid it better."
I lunged out to grab the fruit from his hand, but with his other hand he caught hold of my wrist and squeezed it hard, as they do in movies, when one man forces another to let go of a knife.
"You're hurting me."
"Then let go."
I watched him put the peach in his mouth and slowly begin to eat it, staring at me so intensely that I thought even lovemaking didn't go so far.
"If you just want to spit it out, it's okay, it's really okay, I promise I won't be offended," I said to break the silence more than as a last plea.
He shook his head. I could tell he was tasting it at that very instant. Something that was mine was in his mouth, more his than mine now. I don't know what happened to me at that moment as I kept staring at him, but suddenly I had a fierce urge to cry. And rather than fight it, as with orgasm, I simply let myself go, if only to show him something equally private about me as well. I reached for him and muffled my sobs against his shoulder. I was crying because no stranger had ever been so kind or gone so far for me, even Anchise, who had cut open my foot once and sucked and spat out and sucked and spat out the scorpion's venom. I was crying because I'd never known somuch gratitude and there was no other way to show it. And I was crying for the evil thoughts I'd nursed against him this morning. And for last night as well, because, for better or worse, I'd never be able to undo it, and now was as good a time as any to show him that he was right, that this wasn't easy, that fun and games had a way of skidding off course and that if we had rushed into things it was too late to step back from them now - crying because something was happening, and I had no idea what it was.
"Whatever happens between us, Elio, I just want you to know. Don't ever say you didn't know." He was still chewing. In the heat of passion it would have been one thing. But this was quite another. He was taking me away with him.
His words made no sense. But I knew exactly what they meant.
I rubbed his face with my palm. Then, without knowing why, I began to lick his eyelids.
"Kiss me now, before it's totally gone," I said. His mouth would taste of peach and me.
Pictures: Juan & Cesar Hortoneda, the "Twins of Madrid", lensed by Bruce Weber for L'Uomo Vogue.
Text: Excerpt from Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman.
Title quote: "Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother: I see by you I am a sweet-faced youth." William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors.