Category Archives: October Romance

Kiss the Cook

A few weeks ago, when I moved into my newly leased home, I found a well-worn, white kitchen towel hanging neatly on the oven door. Printed across it in faded red was a perpetual request: “Kiss the Cook.”

Although the dishtowel was as grayed and dingy as the tired saying, I left it right where it was and ignored it for several days. But as the boxes stacked around the kitchen were gradually emptied, those three words became a prominent focal point, finding their way to the pit of my stomach.

Whether you’d like to refer to “Kiss the Cook” as a suggestion, a command, or a wink of permission, it is an imperative statement. The implication is that someone in that kitchen wants to be kissed, and wants to be kissed now. There’s also the implication that someone else is around to get the hint and follow the instructions. In my case, as a single woman, there was not one manly soul around to smooch with the chef. The message just hung there, unheeded and suspended in limbo.

Back in the beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” After Adam charted his domain, he became disenchanted with his incongruent relationship to all living creatures. It’s not like God didn’t know it would happen; it was just part of the plan. Adam understood the guttural loneliness of being alone without a counterpart. Maybe he was envious of the birds and the bees without comprehending why. Something inside of him told him that there was more. He ached for the touch of another like himself, yet he couldn’t begin to imagine what that beautiful being would look or feel like. Amid all the perfection of creation, something was still not quite right.

After Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib, she opened her eyes like Sleeping Beauty, awakened effortlessly by the hand of God to life and love. She was promptly introduced to her destined prince. She was met with immediate companionship, an instant relationship, and the assurance that she was designed specifically to please and be pleased by this particular man. She never looked for love in all the wrong places or wondered whether Adam was indeed “the one”.

The mother of all life never knew what we modern women naturally expect in the boot camp of romance. We know there’s a mandatory longing for love and the pain of having to wait for it. If the gentler gender has any common connection with our foremother, maybe that’s why it’s typically more difficult for women to be alone. Somewhere inside of us, it’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Sometimes, even a bit unbearable. We’re enduring what Eve never had to. And it’s not because we need prowler protection or someone to flip the breaker switch when the lights go out. It’s because our desire is set on loving and being loved.

The silly little towel served no purpose but to remind me of my wanton lips and the clearly absent man who will kiss me passionately someday, but I still left it hanging on the oven door. A week went past, and I even straightened it a time or two, just so it wouldn’t look haphazard. It grew on me, and I slowly began to see it as a cheery thought of what will be rather than a solemn statement of who is not in the kitchen with Gina.

If you know me through my writings, you know that discouragement doesn’t cage me for long. I tend to rally and rise back to the highest plane of hope and faith. Eventually, I always return to the landing pad of my future, looking up to the sky for the answer. So, I have to believe that on one certain day, I’ll be standing in front of that kitchen stove, whipping up home-cooked comfort food. I’ll occasionally feel that soft red and white dishtowel brush against my thigh as I stir something delicious in the pan. Then, some handsome man (of course he’ll be handsome!) will sneak up behind me. He’ll wrap his very deliberate arms around me and hold me silently in a sweetly firm stance. I’ll lose all concentration, drop the spoon from my hand, and turn around to gaze into his waiting eyes. And then, he’ll kiss the cook. It will be one of those landmark, freeze-framed moments extracted from everyday existence. I’ll be overcome by that first kitchen lip-lock of love, reminded that dreams really do come true.

As for now, whenever I’m making dinner for one, I navigate around that quaint, ragged dishtowel and continue to give it a place of humble honor.

S0metimes I think I can faintly hear him tiptoeing through the kitchen, even daring to come close enough to sigh his warm breath on the back of my neck. All I know is, he’s closer than ever before.

Soon, the cook will be kissed. And she’ll keep the red-lettered request hanging neatly on the oven door, hoping he’ll kiss her again…and again and again.



Filed under October Romance

My October

I never liked October.

When I was growing up in Texas, fall was not a full-fledged season. It was a nominal gap, wedged between the extended summer and Thanksgiving, serving only to offer a belated chill to football weather.

In my young world, there were two kinds of leaves—green and brown. Mother Nature wasn’t afforded the temperature nor the time to awe southerners with the same dazzling colors that adorned a northern October. The fall trees in my own back yard didn’t remotely resemble those tiny torn pieces of ragged red, orange, and yellow construction paper neatly pasted onto a bare, cut-out tree. My elementary artwork had no bearing in reality.

During my later sojourns, I did occasionally experience the wondrous effects of climates with four distinct seasons. I discovered that scarecrows in cornfields are for real and fresh apple cider is to die for. I also saw for myself that autumn’s metamorphosis could be startlingly beautiful. Because I had to wait years to finally see it, the brilliance of an authentic fall seemed over-animated, like waking up in Oz after living in black and white.

When I crossed the threshold into the autumn of life, it was with the same droll fanfare as the crunch of dry prairie grass under a cowboy boot. I never liked October anyway, and I certainly didn’t like this one. After expecting to finally reach a season of reaping sentimental rewards, I instead faced the symbolic pictorial of a Texas autumn. The remnants of a marital lifetime that was once was lush and growing had withered and fluttered aimlessly to the ground in grievous disarray. That resulted in a midlife divorce plopping me flat on my back, squarely into the middle of that pile of dead, fallen leaves.

From that coarsely pillowed spot on the ground, I had nowhere to look but up. Then, I was caught up in one of those tornado-like mental whirlwinds, where past events and familiar faces spin around until they converge to create one picture that’s worth a thousand words.

I arose from my sleepy-eyed daze to find myself living in a different kind of October. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I was still the same woman and I hadn’t gotten any younger, yet it felt like a timeless moment. The once willowy branches of my pillaged dreams were now bursting with bright and varied colors, boasting their bold artistry. The sights and sounds of an autumn harvest overtook my heart in sweet anticipation. I knew it was coming. No. I knew it was here.

That’s when I fell in love. Not with a clumsy cardboard depiction, but with the full-seasoned experience waiting in my October. I had to see the hidden potential in the autumn of life before I could believe the beauty of the benefits.

I remembered how those Texas autumns tiptoed between summer and winter like a boring intermission. Then I recalled those few times I was privileged to see autumn at its golden best. I knew wholeheartedly that as a woman in her third season, my own October deserved a big spotlight on a glorious stage, flaunting that generous bounty and entirely lovely cascade of accoutrements.

Now I can only embrace all that October can be…and will be. Autumn has become my favorite time of year, because it represents all the richness life can bring. I love my October. It is my season of hope, and I have faith that it will also bring a time of abundant love.



Filed under October Romance