From that day on, I never stayed anywhere for long. I never formed relationships, never let anyone get too close. I couldn't. I couldn't take that chance, couldn't risk anyone learning my secret.
Six months after I hitchhiked out of Boston, I was living alone in a third-floor walk-up in Harlem, all that I could afford when I first arrived in New York—but now, I was two months behind in my rent and facing eviction. My cue to move on. Time to head for a place where odd jobs would be more plentiful. Time to go where no one knew me, where no one would be looking for me.
I ran a comb through my hair and tied it back in a ponytail. I now had a beard as well. It changed my appearance enough that I probably would not have been recognized by anyone who would be looking for me. I followed the news of the world obsessively—TV, radio, the internet—and I read every newspaper I could get my hands on, watching for anything that involved the investigation into my so-called father's experiments. Occasionally, I'd find something about someone being questioned. Nothing about Andrew Stewart. Nothing about Sadowski having cloned a human being. Maybe they don't know...yet.
That night, I was washing dishes at a diner in Queens. I would make barely enough to buy food. It had come to that—food or a roof over my head. I had gone from being the only child of a wealthier-than-Midas couple to working odd jobs to pay the rent. I'd gone from being their son to not knowing exactly where—or who—I came from.
I picked up my Bible as I headed off. I'd been studying the world's religions since my days in Paris, knowing it would have infuriated the old man. I did a lot of things for that same reason—from growing my hair down past my shoulders to riding motorcycles to my love of classic rock music. I would have entered the clergy, had I not loved art so much. That would have really pissed him off.
Art. I hadn't picked up a sketchbook in months, let alone a paintbrush. My heart hadn't been in it since that day in Boston, the day I learned the truth about my birth. Would it ever be again?
The day I left Boston, one lifetime ended and another began...but first, I had to know who I was. I had to know who my biological parents were, where I had come from. To find the answers to my questions, I had to find Andrew Stewart.
My search began shortly after I arrived in New York City. I went to the public library and booked a computer. As I logged on and stared at the monitor, I wondered about the best place to start. I typed into the search engine: Dr. Andrew Stewart.
Almost immediately, a list of entries appeared on the screen. I right-clicked on the first entry. It was a paper he'd written on genetic engineering....a lot of words I didn't understand. I went to the next one, and the next. More of the same. I was about to call it a night when I spotted an entry designated Biography. I right-clicked again. It was indeed a bio—accompanied by a photograph that stopped me cold.
I'd found my genetic twin.
Why am I not surprised? I asked myself as I lay awake that night, unable to sleep. The old man thought Andrew was the scientist's equivalent of the Second Coming. If he were going to clone anyone other than Christ himself, it would be Andrew. Andrew was the son he wished he'd had...so he made himself a copy. A copy that wasn't quite up to the original.
I was even more of a disappointment to him than I'd realized....