She turned on the water, reached for the slender indigo bottle with its intricate silver stopper, and poured out a few drops of lavender oil into the water. So much had changed in just a few days. Her small rituals, and the history that imbued them, seemed even more important now; she would need them to help keep her grounded in the coming months.
As she sank into the hot, fragrant water, she gave a deep sigh of pleasure. One by one, the worries and tension that had been clenched inside her released and dissolved away. Her shoulders unknotted, her arms and legs lightened.
The perfume of the bath oil stirred up memories of dusky flower gardens and lavender-scented sheets. She had made the lavender oil with Kate and her daughters over the summer. They had gathered bunches and bunches of the purple flowers in the early morning, before the bumblebees were active, and dried them in the heat of the day. Then in the evenings, they gathered around the large, wooden kitchen table, talking and laughing, and making lavender oil and sachets. They let the flowers steep in jars of oil for a few days before straining and adding fresh flowers, repeating this until the scent became strong. And they took tiny bits of silk and sewed small sachets of lavender to tuck inside drawers and linen cupboards. By the end of the trip, Lillian had a bottle of lavender oil to take home with her, along with several sachets. About a week after their return to New York, Charles had surprised her one day with the beautiful indigo bottle to store the oil in. It was one of her prized possessions, reminding her of the gentle summer.
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