The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“I never said you were an idiot.”
“Then what are you saying?”
I thought we were about to get into a fight, so I was taken aback by what Gabriel said. He spoke in a whisper. I could barely hear him. He said:
“I want you to talk to someone. Please.”
“What do you mean? A policeman?”
“No,” Gabriel said, looking angry again. “Not a policeman.”
I understood what he meant, what he was saying. But I needed to hear him say it. I wanted him to spell it out. “Then who?”
“I’m not seeing a doctor, Gabriel—”
“I need you to do this for me. You need to meet me halfway.” He said it again: “I need you to meet me halfway.”
“I don’t understand what you mean. Halfway where? I’m right here.”
“No, you’re not. You’re not here!”
He looked so tired, so upset. I wanted to protect him. I wanted to comfort him. “It’s okay, darling,” I said. “It’s going to be okay, you’ll see.”
Gabriel shook his head, like he didn’t believe me. “I’m going to make an appointment with Dr. West. As soon as he can see you. Today if possible.” He hesitated and looked at me. “Okay?”
Gabriel held out his hand for mine—I wanted to slap it away or scratch it. I wanted to bite him or hit him, or throw over the table and scream, “You think I’m fucking crazy but I’m not crazy! I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!”
But I didn’t do any of those things. Instead I nodded and took Gabriel’s hand, and held it.
“Okay, darling,” I said. “Whatever you want.”
I went to see Dr. West today. Unwillingly, but I went.
I hate him, I’ve decided. I hate him and his narrow house, and sitting in that weird, small room upstairs, hearing his dog barking in the living room. It never stopped barking, the whole time I was there. I wanted to shout at it to shut up, and I kept thinking Dr. West would say something about it, but he acted like he couldn’t hear it. Maybe he couldn’t. He didn’t seem to hear anything I was saying either. I told him what happened. I told him about the man watching the house, and how I had seen him following me into the park. I said all of this, but he didn’t respond. He just sat there with that thin smile of his. He looked at me like I was an insect or something. I know he’s supposedly a friend of Gabriel’s, but I don’t see how they ever could have been friends. Gabriel is so warm, and Dr. West is the opposite of warm. It’s a strange thing to say about a doctor, but he has no kindness.
After I finished telling him about the man, he didn’t speak for ages. The silence seemed to last forever. The only sound was that dog downstairs. I started to mentally tune in to the barking and go into a kind of trance. It took me by surprise when Dr. West actually spoke.