Orchard Flower (version Alpha)
Chapter : Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
This story is written in three versions,
having the same, or very similar beginnings, which branch out into
different endings. You are reading version Alpha.
The purpose of having a story that goes in three different directions
is to let the reader choose which direction most matches his or her
interests. You are welcome, of course, to read all three
versions, but the following information may affect your decision.
In Version Alpha a mother and daughter compete for Bob's attention, and
mom asserts her dominance.
In version Bravo, the daughter resists her mother's attempts to
separate her from Bob and she pursues him.
In version Charlie, neither woman wants to give up.
Coincidence is an astonishing thing if you take the time to stop and
think about it. Most of us don't. Oh, we think
about it fleetingly, as it touches our lives now and then, but we don't
actually give it the honor it is due. Some people think there
isn't any such thing as coincidence, and that everything is
preordained. They would call coincidence fate. I'm
not one of those people.
Coincidence is neither good nor bad, in and of itself. The
results can be either, of course, but you can't blame that on
Take, for example the coincidence of a weak bolt being installed in the
engine of an airplane, and the coincidence of my wife being on that
airplane when that bolt broke. We'd been married for three
months when that bolt snapped. It happened to be a very
important bolt, and the engine lost power. It was coincidence
that there was a storm going on around the plane at the time
too. The end result was that I lost her, and the wound went
deep enough that, ten years later I still haven't been on a
date. I can blame the bolt, or the company that made it, or
maybe the mechanic who torqued it down too tightly. But I
can't blame coincidence.
Even if we wanted to put all the blame there, that's all we'd have time
to do, because even though we don't think about it very much, our lives
are full of coincidence. It happens all day long and only
after it has happened can you decide if it affected your life in small
or large ways.
It is coincidence that causes you to turn the alarm off but linger in
bed for another thirty seconds, instead of getting up
immediately. That brief delay can mean you get to a
particular intersection thirty seconds after a
five-car pileup. That one's no small
coincidence, as it turns out.
And coincidence doesn't happen only in your own life. The
coincidence that happens in other people's lives affects us all
too. But we rarely think about the impact of coincidence in
our lives. At least most of us think of it rarely.
Sometimes something happens to bring our attention to it, though, and
that's what's happened to me. I want to tell you about it,
because coincidence has turned out to be serendipity in my case, at
least in some ways. I won't bore you by pointing
out each instance where coincidence altered things. All I ask
is that you remember that each time something happened, it was probably
the result of a number of coincidences, and that the same thing is
going on in your life even as you read this.
After all, isn't it a coincidence that you even became aware this story
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