What are the chances…

It started with a chance.  It always does.  A 25% chance on certain days in a month, but more likely on the others only a 15% chance of conception.  Not great odds – an 85% chance, in other words, of it never happening at all.  And yet it did.

I was conceived.

I was conceived as the sprouts bubbled on the hob, each with a neat and tiny cross on the stem.  Nothing  left to chance there. Conceived as the turkey bustled and bubbled and caroused the oven in a beautiful song of Christmas cheer and possibility. Roast potatoes crackled, carrots chopped and ready.

I’m not sure how they had the time.  A baby lay in a cot, restless and colicky whilst a toddler, almost 3, counted his building bricks and organised them in rainbow order; a very precocious toddler.

What are the chances?

The odds were against it and yet they made their choices.  They did.

Whoever would want three children under three? Perhaps ale had been consumed, or a whiskey and ginger or two.  Perhaps the senses were dulled sufficiently to not think of the consequences but not to stop that moment of passing passion.  That’s often the best way. Too much thought can pull up the drawbridge of excitement, turn up the collar and send individuals their separate ways.

They ate their lunch in great excitement. Warmed the Cow and Gate and fed the baby, added the teat to the bottle of Ale they often joked about in later life, and let the baby have a moment to ease her way.  She slept soundly in any case.  The toddler – bored of colours – had been bathed in the sink and put to bed. And a calm settled over the place.


Author: Mary Brearley

I work in the charitable arts sector. I have worked all over the UK, and occasionally elsewhere.

5 thoughts on “What are the chances…”

  1. I always try to go back to the first post when I visit a new blog to see what they said. Then I go and read some of the posts. You write well. I had to look to see if this was fiction as to what I could personally relate to. I always said I would write a book about my parents when they were gone. As of this year, they both are now. As to the book? The title would be “The Isle of Wurst”…it doesn’t fit in on my nature blog..but I should tell it anyway as it is human nature..Thank you for following my blog…I am in a bit of a lull recovering from eye surgery….Michelle


      1. I would put it in a new blog..my parents were very accomplished, flawed people who should not have had children…not the happiest of tales, but demonstrates that a person can overcome horrific childhoods….


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