The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“No, no, of course not. I’m fine.”
Diomedes gave me a disbelieving look and ushered me inside. “Come in, Theo. Sit down.”
The others were already there. Christian and Stephanie were standing. Indira was sitting by the window. It felt like a formal reception, and I wondered if I was about to get fired.
Diomedes sat behind his desk. He gestured to me to sit in the remaining empty chair. I sat. He stared at me in silence for a moment, drumming his fingers, deliberating what to say, or how to say it. But before he could make up his mind, he was beaten to it by Stephanie.
“This is an unfortunate incident. Extremely unfortunate.” She turned to me. “Obviously we’re all relieved you’re still in one piece. But that doesn’t alter the fact that it raises all kinds of questions. And the first is, what were you doing alone with Alicia?”
“It was my fault. I asked Yuri to leave. I take full responsibility.”
“On whose authority did you make that decision? If either of you had been seriously injured—”
Diomedes interrupted. “Please don’t let’s get dramatic. Thankfully neither was hurt.” He gestured at me dismissively. “A few scratches are hardly grounds for a court-martial.”
Stephanie pulled a face. “I don’t think jokes are really appropriate, Professor. I really don’t.”
“Who’s joking?” Diomedes turned to me. “I’m deadly serious. Tell us, Theo. What happened?”
I felt all their eyes on me; I addressed myself to Diomedes. I chose my words carefully. “Well, she attacked me. That’s what happened.”
“That much is obvious. But why? I take it was unprovoked?”
“Yes. At least, consciously.”
“Well, obviously Alicia was reacting to me on some level. I believe it shows us how much she wants to communicate.”
Christian laughed. “You call that communication?”
“Yes, I do. Rage is a powerful communication. The other patients—the zombies who just sit there, vacant, empty—they’ve given up. Alicia hasn’t. Her attack tells us something she can’t articulate directly—about her pain, her desperation, her anguish. She was telling me not to give up on her. Not yet.”
Christian rolled his eyes. “A less poetic interpretation might be that she was off her meds and out of her mind.” He turned to Diomedes. “I told you this would happen, Professor. I warned you about lowering the dose.”
“Really, Christian?” I said. “I thought it was your idea.”
Christian dismissed me with a roll of his eyes. He was a psychiatrist through and through, I thought. By that I mean psychiatrists tend to be wary of psychodynamic thinking. They favor a more biological, chemical, and, above all, practical approach—such as the cup of pills Alicia was handed at every meal. Christian’s unfriendly, narrow gaze told me that there was nothing I could contribute.
Diomedes, however, eyed me more thoughtfully. “It hasn’t put you off, Theo, what happened?”
I shook my head. “On the contrary, I’m encouraged.”
Diomedes nodded, looking pleased. “Good. I agree, such an intense reaction to you is certainly worth investigating. I think you should keep going.”