The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“Now you keep going. Keep working with Alicia.”
“And if Stephanie finds out?”
“Forget Stephanie—leave her to me. You focus on Alicia.”
And so I did.
* * *
During our next session, Alicia and I talked nonstop. Or rather, Alicia talked and I listened. Listening to Alicia was an unfamiliar and somewhat disconcerting experience, after so much silence. She spoke hesitantly at first, tentatively—trying to walk on legs that hadn’t been used in a while. She soon found her feet, picking up speed and agility, tripping through sentences as if she had never been silent, which in a way, she hadn’t.
When the session ended, I went to my office. I sat at the desk, transcribing what had been said while it was still fresh in my mind. I wrote down everything, word for word, capturing it as precisely and accurately as possible.
As you will see, it’s an incredible story—of that there is no doubt.
Whether you believe it or not is up to you.
ALICIA SAT IN THE CHAIR opposite me in the therapy room.
“Before we begin, I have some questions for you. A few things I’d like to clarify…”
No reply. Alicia looked at me with that unreadable look of hers.
“Specifically, I want to understand your silence. I want to know why you refused to speak.”
Alicia seemed disappointed by the question. She turned and looked out the window.
We sat like that in silence for a minute or so. I tried to contain the suspense I was feeling. Had the breakthrough been temporary? Would we now go on as before? I couldn’t let that happen.
“Alicia. I know it’s difficult. But once you start talking to me, you’ll find it easier, I promise.”
“Try. Please. Don’t give up when you’ve made such progress. Keep going. Tell me … tell me why you wouldn’t speak.”
Alicia turned back and stared at me with a chilly gaze. She spoke in a low voice:
“Nothing … nothing to say.”
“I’m not sure I believe that. I think there was too much too say.”
A pause. A shrug. “Perhaps. Perhaps … you’re right.”
She hesitated. “At first, when Gabriel … when he was dead—I couldn’t, I tried … but I couldn’t … talk. I opened my mouth—but no sound came out. Like in a dream … where you try to scream … but can’t.”
“You were in a state of shock. But over the next few days, you must have found your voice returning to you…?”
“By then … it seemed pointless. It was too late.”
“Too late? To speak in your defense?”
Alicia held me in her gaze, a cryptic smile on her lips. She didn’t speak.
“Tell me why you started talking again.”
“You know the answer.”
“Because of you.”
“Me?” I looked at her with surprise.
“Because you came here.”
“And that made a difference?”
“All the difference—it made … all the difference.” Alicia lowered her voice and stared at me, unblinking. “I want you to understand—what happened to me. What it felt like. It’s important … you understand.”