Orchard Flower (version Alpha)

by Lubrican

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 coincidence.

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 existed?

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