special candles. Yes, I was and still am a romantic.
As I drove to La Costa, I prayed and made an acronym of the word HOPE—Holding
Optimistic Persevering Energy.
Once again, Ion and I met in a courtyard and practically ran to each other for an
embrace and kiss that I hoped would never end. Ion escorted me to our room and then left
for a conference, which allowed me ample time to unpack and relax after my drive.
There I was, alone in the bedroom of a suite reserved for Ion and me, trying to quiet
the wild thumping in my chest and keep from performing a jig of joy. With trembling
fingers, I lit the oversized votive candle in a clear glass holder, turned on the tape
recorder, and inserted the tape of Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibbs songs I had
carefully selected. While humming each melody, I changed from my slack outfit to a
beautiful black silk gown that draped over the curves of my much slimmer body. I felt
sexy and glamorous . . . and as nervous as I had been at my daughters’ first dance recital.
As I peered at my image in the huge bathroom mirror, I was thrilled over the result of
my hard work and thanked God again for providing the unceasing assistance needed to
fulfill the first wish on my list of three.
But, what was I doing at La Costa? I was literally going to share a room with a man
who was not the original Ion. We had both changed. All I knew was that I liked how I felt
while with him and was positive he was the groom in my visions of the future.
I smiled then. I knew something else. I knew his real name.
During one of our phone chats, he had hesitated. “Carol . . . I have to tell you
I had literally stopped breathing. What was he about to tell me? That he wasn’t
divorced after all? That he wanted to end our phone-friendship before it went any further?
He had already married someone else and just wanted to keep me on the sideline as a
California date? I had gripped the phone receiver with white-knuckled fingers.
“Carol, my name isn’t I-on. It’s E-on. Robert Ian Hunter.”
“E-on? But, you let me call you I-on for months now!” Frankly I was delighted to hear his correct name. Ian with an E sounded perfect. Considering how we had met and where,
I wasn’t surprised I hadn’t correctly heard his introduction over the loud bar music. And,
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