The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
Tears collected in my eyes as I walked up the hill. I wasn’t crying for my mother—or myself—or even that poor homeless man. I was crying for all of us. There’s so much pain everywhere, and we just close our eyes to it. The truth is we’re all scared. We’re terrified of each other. I’m terrified of myself—and of my mother in me. Is her madness in my blood? Is it? Am I going to—
No. Stop. Stop—
I’m not writing about that. I’m not.
Last night Gabriel and I went out for dinner. We usually do on Fridays. “Date night” he calls it, in a silly American accent.
Gabriel always downplays his feelings and makes fun of anything he considers “soppy.” He likes to think of himself as cynical and unsentimental. But the truth is he’s a deeply romantic man—in his heart if not his speech. Actions speak louder than words, don’t they? And Gabriel’s actions make me feel totally loved.
“Where do you want to go?” I asked.
“Got it in one.”
Augusto’s is our local Italian restaurant, just down the road. It’s nothing special, but it’s our home from home, and we’ve spent many happy evenings there. We went around eight o’clock. The air-conditioning wasn’t working, so we sat by the open window in the hot, still, humid air and drank chilled dry white wine. I felt quite drunk by the end, and we laughed a lot, at nothing, really. We kissed outside the restaurant and had sex when we came home.
Thankfully, Gabriel has come around to the portable fan, at least when we’re in bed. I positioned it in front of us, and we lay in the cool breeze, wrapped in each other’s arms. He stroked my hair and kissed me. “I love you,” he whispered. I didn’t say anything; I didn’t need to. He knows how I feel.
But I ruined the mood, stupidly, clumsily—by asking if he would sit for me.
“I want to paint you,” I said.
“Again? You already did.”
“That was four years ago. I want to paint you again.”
“Uh-huh.” He didn’t look enthusiastic. “What kind of thing do you have in mind?”
I hesitated—and then said it was for the Jesus picture. Gabriel sat up and gave a kind of strangled laugh.
“Oh, come on, Alicia.”
“I don’t know about that, love. I don’t think so.”
“Why do you think? Painting me on the cross? What are people going to say?”
“Since when do you care what people say?”
“I don’t, not about most things, but—I mean, they might think that’s how you see me.”
I laughed. “I don’t think you’re the son of God, if that’s what you mean. It’s just an image—something that happened organically while I was painting. I haven’t consciously thought about it.”
“Well, maybe you should think about it.”
“Why? It’s not a comment on you, or our marriage.”
“Then what is it?”
“How should I know?”