At the risk of suffering great humiliation, I am making this public statement to declare an end to an affair I've engaged in for over 20 years.

I met her one chilly weekend in Columbus, Ohio, in 1990. We spent over four hours together and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Afterward, though, there was a part of me that felt so miserable that I swore I would never see her again. I was able to keep that promise until 1994, when I gave into temptation and once again met her in Columbus.

That was the beginning of a torrid love affair. For the next 13 years not only did we meet annually in Columbus, but I started pursuing her all over the country—San Diego, Chicago, New York, even Anchorage, Alaska. We saw the majestic beauty of the Big Sur coastline. In Honolulu we watched the sunrise on Diamond Head. I started losing all reason and judgment, and in one eight-week stretch we met four times in four different cities. It was getting too crazy.

And I have to admit that it wasn't all fun and games. Although I treated her with great respect, I didn't always receive the same from her in return. She often left me bruised, battered and broken in spirit. I started questioning what I was getting from the relationship, and why I was continuing to see her.

I finally reached a point where I was ready to end the affair, but then we had an outstanding time together in Indianapolis in the fall of 2000. After that weekend everything seemed right again and we agreed to meet the following April in Boston.

My wife knew about the affair from the beginning. It was often a source of contention in our marriage, but with no small degree of resignation she came to accept it for what it was. In fact, she even traveled with me on several trips as I pursued the affair. Over the years, though, she grew tired of sharing me in that way. I was getting older, too, and I felt that what I was doing was better suited for a younger man.

In 2007 I told my wife that I was done with the affair, and that I meant it this time. And I thought I did, until this past weekend when my world fell apart.

I saw my old flame again on Sunday, and I spent a lot more time with her than I intended. But that's not the worst of it. On Saturday, the day before, I spent a couple of hours with her little sister. It was a goofy thing to do, and I know it. By the end of the weekend I was more dead than alive.

So this time I truly mean it when I say it's over with her. But there's a part of me that can't make that same promise about her little sister. I just might have to see her again. If you were in my shoes you would feel the same way.

Before I end this confession I guess I should mention their names. My former love is called "Marathon," and she's 26.2 miles long with curves in all the right places. My new love, her little sister, is "Half Marathon." She and I might actually have a future together.

And my wife is okay with that.


I wrote this short story in January, 2013, just after I completed the "Goofy Challenge" at Disney World.

The “Goofy Challenge” consists of running a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday, followed by a full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday.

“The Affair Is Over” © 2013 Rick Cooper
all rights reserved • do not reproduce or distribute without permission of the author