Getting Past The Past

Hope returns

Mark Starlin
3 min readNov 30, 2021


“I’m going to the park.”

Jerry’s plant didn’t answer. It reminded him of his ex-wife, Sue, who ignored him for years. Once the fame wore off, so did the love. It shouldn’t have been that way, Jerry thought. I loved her, and she wasn’t a star.

It wasn’t an uncommon story. Sue had a crush on Jerry when he was a famous child actor. She faithfully watched his show on television every week. They both grew into young adults, and by chance, they met at a dinner party. Infatuation led to romance, which led to marriage, which led to disillusionment.

Jerry couldn’t get acting work as an adult and took a job teaching English. Invitations to celebrity parties dried up, and Jerry was no longer living the life of a television star. Sue eventually lost interest. Jerry tried to make it work, but Sue said it was over. They divorced.

After their marriage ended, Jerry refused to date anyone who knew he was a child star. Which eliminated most of the women his age. He pretty much gave up on love and fell into a comfortable, boring routine.

As Jerry sat on the park bench enjoying a hot dog, a fit woman, who appeared to be around his age, ran by. She smiled at Jerry as she passed. He smiled back, out of habit more than anything. He wondered if she recognized him.

This smiling game went on for a week. The woman ran past and smiled while Jerry sat on the bench and smiled back. On the eighth day, the woman passed by and smiled. Jerry held up the bag of popcorn he was eating and gave the woman a questioning/inviting look. The woman laughed and turned around. She stopped running, walked over, and sat down next to Jerry.

“All that running must make you hungry. Have some popcorn,” Jerry said.

The woman smiled and took a handful.

“Thank you. I haven’t had popcorn in years.”

“Then you are long overdue,” Jerry said. “I am Jerry.”

“I am Shannon,” the woman replied with a smile.

“I am delighted to meet you, Shannon. Are you a marathoner?”

“You don’t recognize me?” Shannon asked.



Mark Starlin