Chapter no 44

The Silent Patient

DIOMEDES WAS WRONG ABOUT IT SNOWING. It didn’t snow; instead it started raining heavily that afternoon. A storm with angry drumbeats of thunder and lightning flashes.

I waited for Alicia in the therapy room, watching the rain batter the window.

I felt weary and depressed. The whole thing had been a waste of time. I had lost Alicia before I could help her; now I never would.

A knock at the door. Yuri escorted Alicia into the therapy room. She looked worse than I expected. She was pale, ashen, ghostlike. She moved clumsily, and her right leg trembled nonstop. Fucking Christian, I thought— she was drugged out of her mind.

There was a long pause after Yuri left. Alicia didn’t look at me.

Eventually I spoke. Loudly and clearly, to make sure she understood. “Alicia. I’m sorry you were put in seclusion. I’m sorry you had to go

through that.” No reaction.

I hesitated. “I’m afraid that because of what you did to Elif, our therapy has been terminated. This wasn’t my decision—far from it—but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’d like to offer you this opportunity to talk about what happened, to explain your attack on Elif. And express the remorse I’m sure you’re feeling.”

Alicia said nothing. I wasn’t sure my words were penetrating her medicated haze.

“I’ll tell you how I feel. I feel angry, to be honest. I feel angry that our work is ending before we’ve even properly begun—and I feel angry that you didn’t try harder.”

Alicia’s head moved. Her eyes stared into mine.

“You’re afraid, I know that. I’ve been trying to help you—but you won’t let me. And now I don’t know what to do.”

I fell silent, defeated.

Then Alicia did something I will never forget.

She held out her trembling hand toward me. She was clutching something—a small leatherbound notebook.

“What’s that?”

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.

Alicia’s 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.

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