My friend Rukmini is generous as they come. She moves gracefully, almost without sound; talks in a cool, earth-smooth voice through pillow lips and a gorgeous smile; and keeps her dark hair short. She came over for dinner a couple weeks ago when I was a little sad armed with red wine, Gail Ambrosius salted dark chocolate covered caramels & lavender tea. Three favorites of mine. She didn’t have to ask to know. We’re in tune like that.
She’s generous with herself, too, which I admire. It’s easy to give ourselves over to others without ever developing the capacity to receive. I was over at her immaculate apartment, the attic floor of an old house in downtown Madison, last week admiring her belongings: fancy candles in scents like real vanilla bean and patchouli burned in different rooms while we talked for hours over a good bottle of wine my dad had given me at Christmas.
I went to the bathroom at one point and lingered over a shelf holding tiny bottles of skin care products in scents like frankincense and rose petals. When I emerged squealing, she disappeared for a second and came back with a small tube of oil. “Here, smell this,” she ordered, motioning for me to hold my wrist out. She painted a little swath of it on my skin. We both inhaled deeply. “Mmmm,” I hummed, still sucking air through my nose. I didn’t want the breath to end.
Best of all was this Organic India Tulsi Sweet Rose tea she brewed for me before I left. She brought a pot of water to a boil, turned off the heat, and sunk two bags in, letting them steep for a few minutes before pouring me a mug. She set a plate on top to keep the rest warm as I sipped. The tea was a treat — floral, indulgent, and amazing, and I told her as much. She responded by dumping half her supply into my open purse. See? I told you she had a full heart.
Try some of this before bed — the scents alone are enough to coax you to heavy bones and eyelids, night-ready indeed.