Darkest Fear Page 76


“Yeah, maybe,” he said, thinking about it. “Must be weird for you too.”

“Yeah,” Myron said.

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Jeremy said. “You want to hear what I’ve come up with?”

Myron swallowed. He looked into the boy’s eyes—serenity, yes, but not through innocence. “Very much,” he said.

“You’re not my dad,” he said simply. “I mean, you might be my father. But you’re not my dad. You know what I mean?”

Myron managed a nod “But”—Jeremy stopped, looked up, shrugged the shrug of a thirteen-year-old—“but maybe you can still be around.”

“Around?” Myron repeated.

“Yeah,” Jeremy said. He smiled again and pow, Myron’s chest took another blow. “Around. You know.”

“Yeah,” Myron said, “I know.”

“I think I’d like that.”

“Me too,” Myron said.

Jeremy nodded. “Cool.”


The gym clock grunted and pushed forward. Jeremy looked at it. “Mom’s probably outside waiting for me. We usually stop at the supermarket on the way home. Want to come?”

Myron shook his head. “Not today, thanks.”

“Cool.” Jeremy stood, watching Myron’s face. “You okay?”


Jeremy smiled. “Don’t worry. It’s going to work out.”

Myron tried to smile back. “How did you get to be so smart?”

“Good parenting,” he said. “Combined with good genes.”

Myron laughed. “You might want to consider a future in politics.”

“Yeah,” Jeremy said. “Take it easy, Myron.”

“You too, Jeremy.”

He watched the boy walk out the door, again with the familiar gait. Jeremy didn’t look back. There was the sound of the door closing, the echoes, and then Myron was alone. He turned toward the basket and stared at the hoop until it blurred. He saw the boy’s first step, heard his first word, smelled the sweet clean of a young child’s pajamas. He felt the smack of a ball against a glove, bent over to help with his homework, stayed up all night when he had a virus, all of it, like his own father had, a whirl of taunting, aching images, as irretrievable as the past. He saw himself hovering in the boy’s darkened doorway, the silent sentinel to his adolescence, and he felt what remained of his heart burst into flames.

The images scattered when he blinked. His heart started beating again. He stared again at the basket and waited. This time nothing blurred. Nothing happened.

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