The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
She held out her trembling hand toward me. She was clutching something—a small leatherbound notebook.
No reply. She kept holding it out.
I peered at it, curious. “Do you want me to take it?”
No response. I hesitated and gently took the notebook from her fluttering fingers. I opened it and thumbed through the pages. It was a handwritten diary, a journal.
Judging by the handwriting, it was written in a chaotic state of mind, particularly the last pages, where the writing was barely legible—arrows connecting different paragraphs written in different angles across the page, doodles and drawings taking over some pages, flowers growing into vines, covering what had been written and making it almost indecipherable.
I looked at Alicia, burning with curiosity. “What do you want me to do with this?”
The question was quite unnecessary. It was obvious what Alicia wanted.
She wanted me to read it.
I mustn’t put strangeness where there’s nothing. I think that is the danger of keeping a diary: you exaggerate everything, you are on the lookout, and you continually stretch the truth.
Though I am not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance.
—WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, The Winter’s Tale
Something odd happened today.
I was in the kitchen, making coffee, looking out the window—looking without seeing—daydreaming—and then I noticed something, or rather someone—outside. A man. I noticed him because he was standing so still—like a statue—and facing the house. He was on the other side of the road, by the entrance to the park. He was standing in the shadow of a tree. He was tall, well built. I couldn’t make out his features, as he was wearing sunglasses and a cap.
I couldn’t tell if he could see me or not, through the window, but it felt as if he was staring right at me. I thought it was weird—I’m used to people waiting across the street at the bus stop, but he wasn’t waiting for a bus. He was staring at the house.
I realized that I had been standing there for several minutes, so I made myself leave the window. I went to the studio. I tried to paint but couldn’t concentrate. My mind kept going back to the man. I decided to give myself another twenty minutes, then I’d go back to the kitchen and look. If he was still there, then what? He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He might be a burglar, studying the house—I suppose that was my first thought—but why just stand there like that, so conspicuously? Maybe he was thinking of moving here? Maybe he’s buying the house for sale at the end of the street? That could explain it.
But when I went back to the kitchen and peered out of the window, he had gone. The street was empty.
I guess I’ll never know what he was doing. How strange.
I went to the play with Jean-Felix last night. Gabriel didn’t want me to, but I went anyway. I was dreading it, but I thought if I gave Jean-Felix what he wanted and went with him, maybe that would be an end to this. I hoped so, anyway.