11 May, 2012
As the minute hand makes its incremental sweep toward five o’clock, the atmosphere on the main floor swells with anticipation for the weekend. A boisterous cluster of men greet one another near the lobby bar. A young co-ed rushes to the concierge for directions. A preschooler fingers the pink sparkles on her princess shirt as parents carry her sibling up the stairs in a stroller. Perched on impressively high heels, a slender woman anxiously watches the revolving door.
Down the hall in the boutique, an older couple selects a tangerine silk blouse for their theater outing. As they chat with the associate, I follow the blouses, blazers, cocktail dresses, bracelets and chocolates to a table display of candles. I recognize the round tins immediately. I’d received one as a gift last year, but had expected not to enjoy its scent because I’m not a fan of mint chocolate. Turns out, I loved the candle so much I’ve kept the burned out tin as a reminder to research the maker and vendor.
Here they were. Voluspa Truffle White Cocoa.
A woman neared the table to examine other tins as well: Baltic Amber, Panjore Lychee, Dahlia Orange Bloom.
“This one,” I say authoritatively, “is truly divine.” I begin to tell her about my serendipitous discovery and realize that she already has a number of tins balanced in the crook of one arm. With her other hand, she held a flute of champagne. We strike up a conversation about candles, the good, the bad, and the cheap.
“I’ve bought them for fifty dollars and I’ve bought them for five,” she said. “The good ones are worth whatever you spend, if you like them. I like the ones with soy and natural products best, like these.”
My new candle sister’s name is Michelle, a Milwaukee-area native who travels the country as a real estate professional. She picks up a few candles for her stash whenever she visits the Pfister’s WELL spa. She might burn candles at any time, she says, but always when she meditates, a practice she’s adopted in the past five years. I admit to her that I’ve only been meditating for a week, after several failed and short-lived efforts over the years.
“It’s still difficult,” she laughed, “but, now, I can tell the difference when I don’t take the time to still myself every day.”
Michelle has become as equally diligent about balancing her busy world with regular exercise, girls’ outings with her sisters, spiritual readings, and treating herself to a massage.
“At the end of any given day, we’re responsible for dozens of decisions with serious weight and consequence. The reality of our lives can be immense,” she says. “I do my best to live well in between it all.”
Michelle takes a sip of champagne and flashes a warm and brilliant smile. I thank her for sharing her story and wish her an exquisitely quiet evening. She raises her glass and I head for the lobby. The bustle had thickened with friends laughing in the lounge, business women arriving with their roller bags, and couples in formal attire weaving through a crowd of dress slacks and denim. It is definitely the weekend, but Michelle may be off to the best start.