When Ailana Met Ethan
After Aunt Hanna died, I hopped a plane and never looked back.
Traveled to Italy… Japan… Puerto Rico… Hawaii… Egypt… Argentina…
Met Armando… Jomei… Miguel… Kale… Sekani… Joaquin…
Let them all show me everything I’d ever read about, teach me all I thought I ever wanted to know.
It was exhilarating.
But I was still alone in the world.
After three years, I’d had enough of intriguing men, empty love and endless adventure.
So I returned to Aunt Hanna’s. Sold the family home and went in search of my own. In four short months, I was the proud owner of a traditional, three-story European-styled house with a full, semi-shaded terrace off the master suite and a long, outdoor deck overlooking a meticulously landscaped, free-flowing lawn.
Cash. Paid in full.
After I settled in, I asked my realtor to do a sweep of the metro area for a location with an available urban retail space convenient to the business district but not too far from stroller-wielding soccer moms and restless retirees.
Inman Park was the answer.
A year later, my dream came true. I was the sole owner and operator of Book Sense, a funky independent bookstore and coffeehouse for all ages.
Over time, people came to read, eat, laugh and socialize in my space. I’d made a good name and life for myself by the sweet age of twenty-four. I was finally grounded, my past neatly buried in the recesses of my mind. I was free.
Then he came.
I heard him first. His voice the timbre of a man who might make his living on midnight radio. A voice like my father’s. He bought a book from my store on a slow sales day and placed cash and a card in my hand. I thought of that gorgeous man for weeks until he returned, boldly inquiring why I never called the number on his business card. He smiled when I replied that he always knew where to find me.
We shared coffee and laughs that turned to dinner and adoration. He consumed my mind and spirit, eclipsing all that came before him. I was in love.
We were a generation apart, but I’d never felt more connected to anyone in my life. So when he presented me with his whole heart and a six-carat solitaire ten weeks after we’d met, I promised my life to this man who cherished me like no other.
Because he was not Armando, Jomei, Miguel, Kale, Sekani or Joaquin.
He was love.
The brightness of my reflection, the beat of my heart, the breath that restored the very essence of my being.
He was my life.
Eight months later, we stood together, hand-in-hand, in front of God and my love’s family members and close friends…the culmination of our May-December romance on display for all the world to see.
On that clear, beautiful fall day, Ethan Scott officially made me his wife.
And then my life began.