The kitchen counter was filled with dirty dishes, the table covered with books and papers and random junk, and the chairs piled with coats and backpacks. Shaggy Hair Boy and With-a-Why were at the piano, playing something loud and jazzy, and arguing as they played, and the cats were skulking about hissing at each other the way they do when the weather is too cold for them to go outside. I was trying to get up some enthusiasm for cleaning the kitchen area when Blonde Niece said that her hip hurt and that she'd like some reiki.
Happy for a reason not to do housework, I shoved the random junk off the oak bench that serves as a coffee table so that I could set up for reiki. Candles are always near by; we keep them on every window sill. Blonde Niece looked through my box of essential oils. We both especially love ylang ylang because it reminds us of my friend Reiki Woman, who wears it as perfume.
In candlelight, the house looked cleaner. The kitchen area, with its piles of bowls and cups, faded into the darkness. I rubbed fragrant oil on my wrists and forearms, on Blonde Niece's neck and hip, until the warm air in the house smelled of tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouly, and blue tansy. Blonde Niece snuggled into the comfy couch. I began as I always do, by first rinsing my hands with the flame of the candle and taking a few minutes to say a prayer and quiet myself.
As the energy flowed through my palms onto Blonde Niece's silky hair, the creatures around me began to settle down. Shaggy Hair and With-a-Why left the piano to begin homework. The cats retreated to comfy places where they could nap. Candlelight flickered in the dark window as I worked. By the time I had moved my palms to Blonde Niece's hip, the house was so quiet that I could hear the winter wind blowing though the wind chimes that hang over my back step.