The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
After she left, I showered. I turned up the temperature until it was almost scalding. The hot water lashed against my face as I wept, burning away messy, babyish tears. As I dried myself afterward, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. I was shocked—I was ashen, shrunken, had aged thirty years overnight. I was old, exhausted, my youth evaporated.
I made a decision, there and then.
Leaving Kathy would be like tearing off a limb. I simply wasn’t prepared to mutilate myself like that. No matter what Ruth said. Ruth wasn’t infallible. Kathy was not my father; I wasn’t condemned to repeat the past. I could change the future. Kathy and I were happy before; we could be again. One day she might confess it all to me, tell me about it, and I would forgive her. We would work through this.
I would not let Kathy go. Instead I would say nothing. I would pretend I had never read those emails. Somehow, I’d forget. I’d bury it. I had no choice but to go on. I refused to give in to this; I refused to break down and fall apart.
After all, I wasn’t just responsible for myself. What about the patients in my care? Certain people depended on me.
I couldn’t let them down.
“I’M LOOKING FOR ELIF, Any idea where I can find her?”
Yuri gave me a curious look. “Any reason you want her?”
“Just to say a quick hello. I want to meet all the patients—let them know who I am, that I’m here.”
Yuri looked doubtful. “Right. Well, don’t take it personally if she’s not very receptive.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “It’s after half past, so she’s just out of art therapy. Your best bet is the recreation room.”
The recreation area was a large circular room furnished with battered couches, low tables, a bookcase full of tattered books no one wanted to read. It smelled of stale tea and old cigarette smoke that had stained the furnishings. A couple of patients were playing backgammon in a corner. Elif was alone at the pool table. I approached with a smile.
She looked up with scared, mistrustful eyes. “What?”
“Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong. I just want a quick word.”
“You ain’t my doctor. I already got one.”
“I’m not a doctor. I’m a psychotherapist.”
Elif grunted contemptuously. “I got one of them too.”
I smiled, secretly relieved she was Indira’s patient and not mine. Up close Elif was even more intimidating. It wasn’t just her massive size, but also the rage etched deep into her face—a permanent scowl and angry black eyes, eyes that were quite clearly disturbed. She stank of sweat and the hand-rolled cigarettes she was always smoking, that had left her fingertips stained black and her nails and teeth a dark yellow.
“I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions, if that’s okay—about Alicia.”
Elif scowled and banged the cue on the table. She starting setting up the balls for another game. Then she stopped. She just stood there, looking distracted, in silence.