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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)

“Diomedes?”

“Yes. He suggested we give you his job.” Julian winked. “He said you were the perfect man for it.”

I smiled. “That’s very kind.”

“Unfortunately, at the end of the day, given what happened to Alicia, and Christian’s arrest, there’s simply no question of keeping the Grove open. We’re closing it down permanently.”

“I can’t say I’m surprised. So in fact there’s no job to be had?”

“Well, the bottom line is this—we’re planning to open a new, much more cost-effective psychiatric service here in the next few months. And we’d like you to consider running it, Theo.”

It was hard to conceal my excitement. I agreed with pleasure. “Between you and me,” I said, borrowing one of his phrases, “it’s the kind of opportunity that I dream about.” And it was—a chance to actually help people, not just medicate them; help them the way I believe they should be helped. The way Ruth helped me. The way I tried to help Alicia.

Things have worked out well for me—I’d be ungrateful not to acknowledge that.

It seems I’ve gotten everything I wanted. Well, almost.

*   *   *

Last year, Kathy and I moved out of central London to Surrey—back to where I grew up. After my father died, he left me the house; although it remained my mother’s to live in until she died, she decided to give it to us, and she moved into a care facility.

Kathy and I thought the extra space and a garden would be worth the commute into London. I thought it would be good for us. We promised ourselves we would transform the house and made plans to redecorate and exorcise. But nearly a year since we moved in, the place remains unfinished, half-decorated, the pictures and convex mirror we bought in Portobello Market still propped up against unpainted walls. It remains very much the house I grew up in. But I don’t mind the way I thought I would. In fact, I feel quite at home, which is ironic.

I arrived at the house and let myself in. I quickly took off my coat—it was sweltering, like a greenhouse. I turned down the thermostat in the hallway. Kathy loves being hot, while I much prefer being cold, so temperature is one of our little battlegrounds. I could hear the TV from the hallway. Kathy seems to watch a lot of TV these days. A never-ending sound track of garbage that underscores our life in this house.

I found her in the living room, curled up on the sofa. She had a giant bag of prawn cocktail crisps on her lap and was fishing them out with sticky red fingers and shoveling them into her mouth. She’s always eating crap like that; it’s not surprising she’s gained weight recently. She hasn’t been working much in the past couple of years, and she’s become quite withdrawn, depressed even. Her doctor wanted to put her on antidepressants, but I discouraged it. Instead I advocated her getting a therapist and talking through her feelings; I even offered to find her a shrink myself. But Kathy doesn’t want to talk, it seems.