This morning I woke up to an email in my inbox from my ex boyfriend, subject: “Can we talk about last night?” I haven’t read it yet mostly because I’m scared of what it’s going to say.

Last night had no intentions of being an ordinary night for me. My college roommate happened to be in town and I’ve only seen her at rowing events since college. (A quick disclaimer: the majority of my friends from college were either on the rowing team, had something to do with rowing, or I met them through other rowers. Several of them are still involved with rowing, either through racing themselves or through coaching.) My roommate and I (obviously) met through rowing- she was the manager and ended up helping with coaching. When we were roommates, we were dating two best friends from the guys team.

College Roommate actually came to visit my rowing practice yesterday and got to meet the freshies that I coach. We made plan when she left to call another rower and have him meet us for drinks. I called the guy, Gay Rower, who is exactly what his name states. He was openly and proudly gay, and he was in my boat during college. When I called him, he squealed and said “you girls can be my fag-hags tonight! Oh wait, is that derogatory towards myself?”

We all got together at a back-neck bar about ten minutes from my house. The first drink became our catching up: we talked about Gay Rower’s new boyfriend, we talked about College Roommates bad breakup last year and subsequent making out with my ex-boyfriend’s (her ex-boyfriend’s best friend’s) brother. They were wide-eyed when I told them that I hadn’t been with anyone except Pete since October. “But you’re a serial dater!” College Roommate protested. “Holy crap, you must really like him.” I shrugged and explained that it wasn’t going anywhere.

Another two rounds later, as Gay Rower started dancing in his seat, College Roommate’s cell phone went off. It was my ex-boyfriend calling, and three drinks in I was ready to talk to him. When she tossed the phone at me, he started telling me how much he missed me and that he hoped to see me at a race soon. He told me that he was coaching a high school program, just like I am. “Except my team would demolish your team on the river,” I pointed out. We hung up as the next round came, and I turned to trying to convince Gay Rower to do karaoke.

College Roommate’s cell phone lit up, a text message: “What’s Cait’s number?” A minute after she responded, my phone went off: “I really do miss you, I want to see you.” Meanwhile College Roommate’s was going off, with him asking her to bring me to visit him. She asked if he was serious, and he responded that us breaking up had been the worst decision of his life.

I started letting Gay Rower (who of course in a twist had a crush on my ex) text with the ex. I regretted that decision ten minutes later when he cooed, “Oh! He wants to tie you up!” College Roommate and I both grappled at the phone, her winning, laughing at the screen, and then passing the phone to me. I shrugged again and passed the phone back to Gay Rower just as College Roommate’s phone went off again. She answered, and passed it to me. “He wants to talk to you,” she said, winking.

I ended up outside on the phone talking to the ex for a half hour. Long enough that Gay Rower and College Roommate came out and grabbed me as they left the bar. We stayed on the phone while the three of us walked to the nearby 711, and as College Roommate ate a giant iced donut. College Roommate eventually grabbed the phone and said that we were getting ready to leave, so that he’d have to call me in an hour.

He did, at one in the morning. We talked about everything: college, rowing in college, rowing after college, life after college. We compared the programs we coach, the rivers we coach on, the boats we use, the rigging we have on the boats, the lengths and makes of our oars. In a rower’s world, this is the dirty talk.

And then he suggested that I come spend a week with him to scout his team. Plus, he said, he’s missed me and he hated how things turned out. When we hung up around four in the morning, he instantly messaged me. “I couldn’t say this over the phone,” he typed, “but I want to make it clear just how much I’ve missed you.” He listed the things that he’s missed about me, the mental, physical, and emotional characteristics. We talked for another forty-five minutes there until I pointed out that I needed to wake in the morning.

And so now the email. I’m not sure if I’m more scared of the idea of him saying more along those lines, or the idea of him taking everything he said back.

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