By Simon Barget
Shortly before (or after) I was born they made several thousand copies of me and scattered them thoughtlessly round the globe. One is in Vancouver for instance, no, he was in Vancouver, or should I say ‘she’ because they are both male and female these reproductions, I think they moved from Vancouver to Vancouver Island about six months ago but I haven’t seen them for about three years. I rarely think about all my copies, I just find myself getting on with my life. If I did catch a glimpse of one of them, I can barely remember what they look like, and in some ways they hardly even look like me at all and you don't notice a resemblance.
Sometimes I can’t stop myself thinking though. I think about them because I love them and I miss them and I want to see them but I’m not really sure how or even if they know who I am. Sometimes it just happens that I bump into them as if out of nowhere at some random point on the earth. Most of the time I don’t even know it’s one of my copies because it’s so hard to distinguish them from any normal person at all and there is no sure-fire way of telling the difference.
When I think about all my copies, I am usually here at home on my own not doing that much at all. That is precisely when I wish so much I could be with them. And then it is when I happen to be with them or at least some of them that I’m hardly even conscious I’m with them. I don’t rejoice or anything of the sort, I don’t feel that I’m blessed to be momentarily reunited, I just take it for granted and carry on as if nothing much has happened at all. Right at this moment for example I am not with them and I wish that I could be, but if I were with them I would hardly draw succour, and perhaps there would even be a small part of me that was waiting to be alone again because dealing with so many versions of yourself can be tiring, it can be too much for the heart.
But even as I think about all the people built out of me, I forget that there are a whole host of others as well, so that yes it is true that there are several thousand, but if you count all the ones that I don’t count upon first thinking, then there are far more than this and the numbers could extend into several hundred thousand, several hundred thousand people who were cloned out of me shortly before or after my birth.
The reason I mention these others is that I sometimes find myself concentrating on the first lot to the exclusion of all the manifold others. I think about this girl from Vancouver for instance, I think about her more than is possibly warranted. And I can list the others who always come to my mind, as if they’re favoured (or cursed) to be there, there’s one man in the middle of Israel, one very religious Jewish man, one man with over-coiled ringlets of hair feathering the front of his ears, a man who plays music, a man with six children, a man who studies the Torah almost every hour of the week.
I think about this copy of me to the exclusion of the others. I think about several others in Canada and one in Peru, I think about one who I cannot even be certain is my outcrop, and then I think about some who live not all that far from me in the town that I chose to settle in, and as I think about all the people on the list, I sometimes wonder whether they think about me, I sometimes wonder whether the situation is somehow different with clones as opposed to other people, that when you think about them, they automatically think about you and one movement is matched by the other.
Sometimes I will go for years if not decades without seeing a clone of myself. And most of the time, as I have stated, I won’t even think twice. But then sometimes I am set to thinking that it has been decades and that I would just like to see some of my manifestations as I am so fond of them and absence makes the heart grow fonder, and maybe you can imagine that if you had parts of you reproduced in other people and these people were so like you and so close to your heart -- yes in a way they are like your children -- then you as well would start pining after them and you would want to see them, or you would start thinking about them, you would start imagining what they look like and how they are and what they are doing and whether they are experiencing this earth in very much the same way as you are, since you surmise and quite rightly so, that people who are you are going to be in the same predicament that you are, they’re going to be having pretty much the same experience of this earth as you are.
But there is no easy way of making contact. There is no way to conjure them up and I have to physically go to the place that they’re in to see them and there are no shortcuts and sometimes that feels as if it’s too much endeavour, that it shouldn’t be such hard work, that I should somehow have much more immediate access, but I don’t and that is the situation and if I want to see and be with them, I have to travel, I have to get on a plane or a boat.
And then you might imagine that such is my fondness for those disparate parts of me that I would jump up and see them. But aside from thinking about them quite a lot of the time, I don’t really get the urge to go anywhere, to go and see them. I mean I can imagine how wonderful and open Vancouver is, not to mention my other parts all over the expansive west of Canada, and how I love the idea of Canada in the winter or even upstate New York in the snow where there are quite a few of my clones residing and then there are a few of me in the centre of Paris in the numbers 7, 8 and 9 districts and then even going up into the 17th and how I love the dark streets and the high buildings and the grilles and yet all these glimpses and shadows, all these silhouettes don’t make me actually move a muscle and I wonder to some degree whether I am a fraud because I preach one thing but practise an other.
Sometimes I have thought about drawing up a list. If I listed out every single instantiation of me on a big piece of paper, I could look it over, I could be comforted, and every time I thought of one of my people all the way out there in Hokkaido, or maybe even closer by in the Lake District or that musical Hasid in Israel when we went to the Dead Sea and Masada, I could look down for the name and I could match the thought to the name and perhaps I would say ‘ah’ and there would be a moment of synthesis of calm and I would not feel so alone and so separate from my accoutrements from my mirror images, I would be able to give and receive this ardent love, this love constantly being beamed out from me, I wouldn’t feel so much that it was being transmitted and wasted, because that’s the thing that irks me, that’s the quibble; they don’t realise how strongly I love them, how much I have their best interests at heart, I feel for them as I hope they feel for me but there is no way to be certain and I must carry on as I am, periodically thinking, periodically meeting in an imperfect disposition that will never be solved.