The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“She had a history—the same thing happened at the place they lived before Hampstead. That’s why they had to move. She accused an elderly man across the street of spying on her. Made a huge fuss. Turned out the old guy was blind—couldn’t even see her, let alone spy on her. She was always highly unstable, but it was her father’s suicide that did it. She never recovered.”
“Did she talk about him with you at all? Her father?”
Christian shrugged. “Not really. She would always insist that she loved him and they had a very normal relationship—as normal as it could be, considering her mother killed herself. To be honest, I was lucky to get anything out of Alicia at all. She was pretty uncooperative. She was—well, you know what she’s like.”
“Not as well as you, apparently.” I went on before he could interrupt, “She attempted suicide after her father’s death?”
Christian shrugged. “If you like. That’s not what I would call it.”
“What would you call it?”
“It was suicidal behavior, but I don’t believe she intended to die. She was too narcissistic to ever really want to hurt herself. She took an overdose, more for show than anything else. She was ‘communicating’ her distress to Gabriel—she was always trying to get his attention, poor bastard. If I hadn’t had to respect her confidentiality, I’d have warned him to get the hell out.”
“How unfortunate for him that you’re such an ethical man.”
Christian winced. “Theo, I know you’re a very empathetic man—that’s what makes you such a good therapist—but you’re wasting your time with Alicia Berenson. Even before the murder, she had precious little capacity for introspection or mentalizing or whatever you want to call it. She was entirely consumed with herself and her art. All the empathy you have for her, all the kindness—she isn’t capable of giving it back. She’s a lost cause. A total bitch.”
Christian said this scornfully—and with absolutely no detectable empathy for such a damaged woman. For a second, I wondered if perhaps Christian was borderline, not Alicia. That would make a lot more sense.
I stood up. “I’m going to see Alicia. I need some answers.”
“From Alicia?” Christian looked startled. “And how do you intend to get them?”
“By asking her.”
I walked out.
I WAITED UNTIL AFTER DIOMEDES DISAPPEARED into his office and Stephanie was in a meeting with the Trust. Then I slipped into the goldfish bowl and found Yuri.
“I need to see Alicia.”
“Oh, yes?” Yuri gave me an odd look. “But—I thought the therapy was discontinued?”
“It was. I need to have a private conversation with her, that’s all.”
“Right, I see.” Yuri looked doubtful. “Well, the therapy room is occupied—Indira is seeing patients there for the rest of the afternoon.” He thought for a second. “The art room is free, if you don’t mind meeting there? It’ll have to be quick, though.”
He didn’t elaborate but I knew what he meant—we had to be fast, so no one noticed and reported us to Stephanie. I was grateful Yuri was on my side; he was obviously a good man. I felt guilty for having misjudged him when we first met.