- Vol. 03
- Chapter 06
Peas in a Pod
Paulizno hunched, his bony spine protruding under a starched white shirt, taut like a teepee tarpaulin. His chest cavity rose and fell. His breath, an ocean of life, left a fine mist momentarily floating above the stone floor. Anchored at bay he was still waiting. Squeezing his eyes into fists the lights came, dancing squares of red and orange then blue, violet circles spanned with stars. Tapping into the third-eye-chakra his bodily tensions dissipated as negative shut-eye images faded with each stinging exhalation. In his minds’ eye he paced through each body part. But boxed too tightly the flesh of his left big toe was strangled by the very hole which it had created as an escape route. Old scarlet socks were familiar accomplices in this shoe-string adventure. Even the crisp scholarly collar threatened his Adam's apple with its throttling tightness. He could barely swallow. The heirloom wrist watch ticked loudly, the second hand announcing this borrowed time. Interim moments bridged between ignorance and knowledge. The door at the end of the corridor showed no signs of opening yet. Ten minutes to go. He’d hoped they'd be ready together.
Fumbling fingers darted inside his inner jacket pocket. The leather bound document still seemed safe. But this gave no consolation, only tidal clashes of relief and anxiety. Clasping his hands to his lap he shook off questions. L-e-t G-o, visualising each letter, helped create space with measured breath. But the fidgeting was not within his control and with a mission the wallet was once again in his hands. Fragile, he had to take another peek. A strangely authentic version of himself stared back. Ernest brows, cleft chin, same full lips, "Well if it ain’t two peas in a pod," he recalled the sergeant’s low whistle of disbelief.
Peas in a Pod
It had taken almost fifteen years to trace his brother. If the research had gone to plan, behind that door would lie the answer to his life long question. Who had given him up? Who was the vague shadowy woman of his dreams? His own children seemed to have been cursed, never living to enjoy a full childhood. How he had suffered. What was the secret behind his thwarted fatherhood?
Three minutes and footsteps came clattering from the stairwell down into this stone white chamber. Paulizno wasn't sure if they were nimble female steps, or his brother's rushing stride. As the steps grew louder behind him, voices ahead were heard. His name was being called. To his right, behind, the rushing steps had broken into a run. To his left the geneticist’s door had opened: "Paulizno we are ready for you. Please step inside."
Finally side by side, Paulizno somehow knew that the familiar hand reaching for his shoulder would alter everything. His panting brother held out a business card, embossed gilt letters confirmed his fear. Clone Pilot Study at the (NHGRI) National Human Genome Research Institute.
“Paulizno, you don’t look surprised. Enter both of you, it’s time to talk.”