Knot Now


One of my hidden talents is the ability to tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue.

Believe it or not, it has taken me a week to come up with that in my search for anything that I might be able to refer to as a “hidden talent”.  Of course, once I figured that one out I remembered a few others.

I can light a lighter with my toes.  Once upon a time, I could also light a cigarette with the toe-lighted lighter, but these days I strongly doubt that I could get my toes anywhere a cigarette in my mouth.  Meh, I don’t smoke anyway.

I can balance a stack of quarters on my raised elbow and then swing my arm around fast enough to catch them before they hit the floor.  My record is twenty-one quarters.

I can break into almost any house, as long as I have access to a butter knife, something to climb on, and enough time to think about it. . . but not enough time to really think about it.

It says an awful lot about where I am in my life right now that I struggled so hard to find my own hidden talents for this week’s prompt.  I’m dealing with so much in my life, and I know that it has taken a real toll on my self-esteem.  Which was always a bit wobbly to begin with.

I’ve never been out of work before now.   I don’t know what I’m good at.  I know I’m not dumb; I just don’t have any real ideas of what direction to go, career-wise.  I have limitations now that I’ve never had before, limitations that pretty much eliminate any kind of job I have ever held in the past.  Or, as I whined to two old and dear friends last night, “I have no marketable skills!”

Let me tell you something about these old friends:  they don’t take self-pity lightly.

I’ve known them since we were all eight years old.  At times, we’ve gone years without seeing each other.  At times, we haven’t really liked each other.  But there is no one on this earth who knows me better than they do, warts and all.

They pretty much slapped me down, scolded my ass for feeling sorry for myself, and proceeded to remind me of all of the things I am good at.  They reminded me of my worth as a human being, and they made sure to tell me that they love me.

They helped me remember that I need to love me too.

This morning, my husband and I drove to the county courthouse together to file the papers necessary to begin our divorce proceedings.  It was an emotional experience for both of us; neither one of us wants to get back together, but taking this step feels like failure.  It hurts.

It hurts to admit we couldn’t make it work.

It hurts to realize that it really, truly is over.

It hurts to look each other in the eye and say yes, I am sure I don’t want to be married to you anymore.

It hurts.

In the car, I asked him for help with this week’s writing prompt.  “You’ve lived with me for eighteen years,” I said.  “What would you say is a hidden talent that I have?”

“You can tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue,” he said.

My friends know that I can hand-quilt and embroider like a dream.  They have faith in my writing, and they have ideas of ways for me to make money with it.  They know I am a hard worker and that there is no job I can’t do if I set my mind to it.  They believe in me, and they are going to make me believe in myself whether I want to or not.

My friends demand the best that I have to offer, and they will accept nothing less.  They know that I have talents and skills that I haven’t even discovered yet.

My husband, the man I loved and lived with for nearly two decades, knows that I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.

Somewhere between the county courthouse and home, I finally understood that my hidden talent has nothing to do with cherry stems or cigarette lighters or fine needlework.  It has everything to do with this man that I used to love; this man that I tried so hard to share my life with.  This man who never really knew me at all, any more than I really knew him.

My hidden talent is knowing when to walk away.

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

6 thoughts on “Knot Now”

  1. Wow. Tears. What a powerful post. First, I’ve experienced divorce as well, and am so sorry that you are going through that but send you a gigantic congratulations on knowing when to walk away. That’s a huge talent, and one that many of us struggle with or have struggled with in the past. I’m so glad that you have such amazing support from your lovely friends – that’s huge.
    Also, I promise I’m not shallow but I LOVE that you can tie a knot with your tongue (a skill I used to practice and never mastered) AND that you used to be able to light a lighter with your toes and then a cigarette! You rock. Thanks so much for joining us this week again!


  2. When I saw that picture of a cherry stem, I didn’t expect it to take me here. How brave and honest this is and also very well written. I believe in second chances. I think maybe you’re walking away from something in order to walk toward something better. Best of luck to you.


  3. Unbelievably powerful post. I’ve laughed along with many of people’s hidden talents this weekend and as I started reading. I thought, I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue, too. And then you hit the nail on the head. How many people truly know us and accept us as we are. I can see already that you have many talents that aren’t hidden, but in full view and they will all come together in an amazing way to move you forward in this difficult journey.


  4. We are exactly at the same place, except my husband did not go to the courthouse with me and doesn’t know I have begun the process of divorce.

    This journey you are on, it is a difficult one and you have stepped on this path barefoot. Believe me, you will step on a few sharp rocks. Just know we all do, we build up callous’s to protect us, so long as they aren’t around your heart you will do fine. I am going to lay odds, your hidden talents aren’t so hidden they just are waiting on the sidelines for you to grab them, shake them off and put them in the game.

    I also can tie a cherry stem in a knot, it was a talent that served me well in my bad old days. Perhaps it is a talent I should brush off.


Got an opinion? Please share it here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: