Linda’s Clone by Dr. Linda Bennington

My clone sat on the floor staring at me.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

I just wanted to know what she was thinking about the possibility of having lived before and all I got was a vacuous stare.

“Well,” I said, “surely you’ve had dreams about being someone else in another place or felt drawn to some particular time period?”

“Not really,” she murmured with that look on her face that meant I’m not reallllyyy interested and could care less what you’re talking about.

I’d had my doubts about cloning to start with due to my personal beliefs, but then it was an intriguing concept that piqued my scientific side.  Metaphysically I believed in reincarnation and knew I’d lived before so I wondered how that would influence my clone.  We do store memories in every cell of our body in the form of peptides and those memories should theoretically transfer during cloning, but so far apparently nothing had registered.  I’m not sure why I decided to do it anyway but the fee had gotten lower and I could carry the baby myself……………..

“Can we go shopping now?”  Tara asked.  “I like those new dresses.”

“What dresses?” I replied.

“The ones I saw in the book at the library the other day.”

Okay, this was weird.  I’m not a shopper and actually hate going unless I absolutely need something and here she was asking me to take her shopping!  Where was that coming from?  The older she got the more different she was from me.  She did like to read so that was typical, but all this feminine stuff was definitely not my thing.  Next she’ll be asking for make-up and how to do her hair.  How could I possibly manage this?  I was from the era of women’s rights and equality.  What was I doing with someone—and not just someone—my clone for God’s sake!  Okay my clone, a someone who wanted to buy dresses and ………….and all that meant.

“Fine.  Get ready.  I’ll take you shopping.” I replied with a tone of disgust.

“Great!” she answered getting up from the floor and running to her room.

This day was turning into something very different from what I had imagined.  Finally I have a weekday off that I had planned on spending with Tara doing things much different from shopping—like discussing the meaning of life physically and spiritually.  But she obviously had a much different agenda.

On the ride to the mall, Tara sat staring at the window looking deep in thought.  Probably thinking about what kind of dresses to buy I pondered cynically.  Seriously, what was wrong with me that I considered doing this?  I’d already raised 4 kids and struck out on my own.  What possessed me to do this?  It wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was in for, but I thought it would be different.  That she would naturally be more like me and, therefore, easier.  Hah!  There it was—easier.  Now that involved an egotistical slant if ever there was one.  Did I honestly believe I could make her life different from mine and live through her vicariously?  Oh god!  This was getting too philosophical or maybe even psychological.  I was discovering motives that I had not explored before.

“There’s a parking space!” Tara exclaimed, pointing over two rows.

I drove around and pulled in.  She sounded so excited.  I still couldn’t believe it.  Well, what I obviously needed to do was make the most of the day and try and enjoy it.  As we walked toward the mall holding her hand, I noticed our reflection in the windows.  She was in many ways not like me at all for her age.  She had been breastfed for two years and then slimmed down to a thin child, which is typical.  I had been formula fed and remained chubby until the age of five when I got desperately ill and lost a lot of weight that I never put back on.  Yep, I’d considered all the environmental factors that would improve her outcome and heighten her potential and now it had betterment of mankind………….nope—it had culminated in going shopping.

Tara anxiously pulled me along to find some stores.  We went up and down so many areas and all she did was stop to look in the windows of various places.  As time passed, her energy for shopping began to wane.

“What’s wrong honey?” I asked sweetly.

“Nothing.” She murmured.

“Well, you seem like you are getting tired.”  I responded hopefully.  “Do you want to get something to eat?”

“Okay.” She stated abjectly.

“Want to get your favorite?”  I was desperately trying to please her knowing that her favorite was McDonald french fries.  I never buy them for her because I have maintained a household of organic, no sugar, no junk food policy in order to keep her at her optimum potential.  Obviously it wasn’t working very well since her scope of wonderment hadn’t passed beyond shopping.

Okay, okay I was thinking.  Enough already.  You’ve gone over this topic ad nauseum.  Let it go!  For god’s sake, she’s only four years old.  Maybe you’re expecting too much too soon.  I don’t know why I kept thinking of her as being older.  I’d done that since her birth.  Bonding with her had been much different than my other kids.  She looked and felt too familiar.  There had always been this undercurrent of irritation.  Well, there it was—out in the open—irritation. Why had I not noticed it before?  It was irritation at what I expected of her progress knowing what I knew about myself at the same age. I hadn’t put that on my other kids.  I was actually biased.  I expected more of her because I’d always expected more of myself.  I involuntarily gasped.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” Tara asked.  “Are you okay?  You look kinda funny.”

I grasped the bannister outside a store and swallowed hesitantly.

“Mommy!” Tara shouted.  “What’s wrong?”

I came to my senses and looked down at her.  Despite cloning, she really wasn’t me.  She had her own personality despite her environment and inherited biochemical molecules.  And she was so tiny and innocent looking……………

“Mommy! Mommy!” she screamed again.

Startled by Tara’s screams a security officer walked over to see if I was okay.  I smiled feebly and shook my head up and down to assure him I was okay before he even asked the question.

I took her hand in mine and smiled reassuring at her, “I’m okay, honey.  I just had a moment—probably hypoglycemia.”

“Hypoglycemia?”  she questioned.  “You mean you need to get something to eat, right?”  

Somewhat stunned by her response, I replied, “That’s right.  How did you know that?”

“I don’t know.  It just came out of my head.  There’s a McDonald’s right there.  Let’s go get some french fries,” Tara replied as she pulled me toward the door.

Well, I thought.  Maybe I’m being a little too rigid.  Some things are okay now and then. I bought two orders of fries and two cokes and took them to a corner booth.  Tara sat directly across from me and smiled happily.  She actually looked like a normal, happy kid.

“So,” I asked, “what kind of dresses were you looking for? And what books were they in?”

“Oh, they were such pretty lavender dresses.  I think they were in the book about Abigail Adams.  You know, the one you read to me about how she saved the papers during the war?  She was so interesting, Mommy,” she said.

“Oh.” I replied, fascinated that she had remembered this book because I read it to her in utereo. I’d planned every detail about the pregnancy and birth because I had more time to indulge with this gestation.  So maybe she was coming along okay?

“But Mommy, there’s something I don’t understand,” she stated questioningly.

“What’s that, Tara?” I asked.

“When do I start wearing those long dresses again?”

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