I came from L.A. to this unassigned territory because my life had fallen apart. It was the usual story.

My husband of twenty-six years had taken up with a young, single, cosmetics salesperson. Clinique.

My daughter, Cynthia, had married and moved to Oregon. My son, Tyler, in Costa Rica. By the time we were finished with all the formalities, there was a little money from my half of the house, a Volvo Station Wagon, no life left and no place to live it.

Since I still had a few months' coverage on my husband's insurance policy before my eligibility expired, I went to family counseling. The man there gave me a pep talk. He said it was time to start a fulfilling new career, rent a stylish condo, invest in offshore mutual funds, and take lavish bubble baths.

I was willing to try. The bubble baths part seemed easy enough. Nice to sink in the steamy, mimosa water and imagine that I could dissolve the heavy, hard feeling that there was something unfair about breaking up a partnership of twenty-something years where he has a new wife, a new house in Orange County, a ski timeshare, all the earning power, and she gets the broken toaster-oven, the button collection, and half the debt.

But you already know that story.

Then an unusual thing happened. I should say fantastic--because there is the element of fantasy.