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beating like a drum, his chest a hollow vacuum, Mark craned his neck forward as if he’d been yanked by a bungee cord, pop eyed, cursing his near sightedness. Or maybe it was Jason, the young man he’d talked to earlier, who looked like Scott. Mark looked away for a split second, blinked once, twice and looked again. The man, Scott or Jason, had turned around. He and the other man were leaving, walking out of the bar. Mark could only see the backs of their heads. He sucked in a giant mouthful of air. He’d been holding his breath. Again. Why had Scott left so quickly? Had Scott seen him? That seemed the only explanation. Mark felt light-headed. Scott and the other man had barely entered the front entrance, had stayed for less than a minute. What other explanation was there? Or maybe it wasn’t Scott. Mark took another deep breath. He reached for his glass and took a long pull on his drink. His hand shook. Scott. Of all the things Mark had thought about, worried about over the years, running into his son in a gay bar was not one of them. But it should have been. Mark had known for years Scott was gay, long before Scott suspected it himself when he was fourteen, playing junior varsity football, being a high school jock, and a pretty good one at that, following in his dad’s footsteps. ‘Takes one to know one’ was the ugly phrase that had

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run through Mark’s mind as he watched his son trying to convince himself he couldn’t be “that way.” How often Mark had wished he could have been there for Scott at such a difficult time. It was impossible. To do so would have meant exposing both of them to the family. Or, if not that, it would have meant asking Scott to keep it from the rest of the family, a burden Mark could not ask a teenage boy to bear. Mark squared up to the bar head down, sending a signal to be left alone. The more he thought about it the more confident he was. He hadn’t seen his son, he had seen Jason. Maybe it was the best thing that could have happened. From now on he would make sure when to touch base with Scott when he was traveling, give him a call, say hello, make sure they were not in the same city when Mark was out on the town. Everyone, every family, had secrets. It was just a matter of degree. Mark took several peanuts from the dish in front of him, tossed them in his mouth, chewed for a moment and then washed them down with the Viagra pill he had pulled from the pocket of his sports coat. He was drinking too fast but he had a feeling it was one of those nights when it didn’t matter, one of those nights when it would be impossible to get drunk. His thoughts were interrupted by a quiet voice behind him. “Another penny for your thoughts?” ¤

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Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

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