The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
Gabriel gave me a disbelieving look but he let it go, for the moment. I’ll have to face it again next time we see Max—but something tells me that won’t be for a while.
I feel better for having written this down. I feel safer, somehow, having it on paper. It means I have some evidence—some proof.
If it ever comes to that.
It’s my birthday today. I’m thirty-three years old.
It’s strange—it’s older than I ever saw myself as being; my imagination only ever extended this far. I’ve outlived my mother now—it’s an unsteady feeling, being older than she was. She got to thirty-two, and then she stopped. Now I’ve outlived her, and won’t stop. I will grow older and older—but she won’t.
Gabriel was so sweet this morning—he kissed me awake and presented me with thirty-three red roses. They were beautiful. He pricked his finger on one of the thorns. A bloodred teardrop. It was perfect.
Then he took me for a picnic in the park for breakfast. The sun was barely up, so the heat wasn’t unbearable. A cool breeze was coming off the water and the air smelled of cut grass. We lay by the pond under a weeping willow, on the blue blanket we bought in Mexico. The willow branches formed a canopy over us, and the sun burned hazily through the leaves. We drank champagne and ate small sweet tomatoes with smoked salmon and slivers of bread. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, was a vague feeling of familiarity, a nagging sense of déjà vu I couldn’t quite place. Perhaps it was simply a recollection of childhood stories, fairy tales, and magical trees being gateways to other worlds. Perhaps it was something more prosaic. And then the memory came back to me:
I saw myself when very young, sitting under the branches of the willow tree in our garden in Cambridge. I’d spend hours hiding there. I may not have been a happy child, but during the time I spent under the willow tree, I felt a similar contentment to lying here with Gabriel. And now it was as if the past and the present were coexisting simultaneously in one perfect moment. I wanted that moment to last forever. Gabriel fell asleep, and I sketched him, trying to capture the dappled sunlight on his face. I did a better job with his eyes this time. It was easier because they were closed—but at least I got their shape right. He looked like a little boy, curled up asleep and breathing gently, crumbs around his mouth.
We finished the picnic, went home, and had sex. And Gabriel held me in his arms and said something astonishing:
“Alicia, darling, listen. There’s something on my mind I want to talk to you about.”
The way he said it made me instantly nervous. I braced myself, fearing the worst. “Go on.”
“I want us to have a baby.”
It took me a moment to speak. I was so taken aback I didn’t know what to say.