Sometimes there is a clear path we march along, our heads held high, our goal in sight. But more often we are led down the abstract way where the twists and turns are so jagged that we can't see our way forward. We keep moving along because we have no choice…that is what life asks of us.

As we take each step our journey is fueled by the hope that the answers we seek are up ahead…just around the bend of the abstract way.

Chapter 46-Bella's Birthday at the Bel Air Hotel

I look up and realize that we are cocooned in an alcove that looks out on the swan lake. The patio is covered with drapings of fuchsia bougainvillea, and the tender petals drop around us like summer snow. The back of our seating is layered with richly upholstered down pillows, and I fight the urge to lie down across them. This is decadence defined.