(n) a homesickness for a home you can't return to, or a home that never was
So I was left there with Calum, and we decided to just hang out for a bit. He'd told me that he lived right around the corner, and had happened to be passing by when I decided to jump out in front of a car. I kind of expected him to invite me to his place after telling me that, but he didn't. He'd never done that, and at this point I felt weird asking about it. Instead we decided to go grab some coffee at a local café.
We sat down at one of the tables outside of the café with each of our cups of coffee placed in front of us, and it was nice. It really was. The only times we'd got to hang out lately had been under all of these weird circumstances, so this was a change for the better. I just hoped that we would finally get a chance to just talk without interruption.
"I'm really sorry about what just happened by the way", I said after taking the first sip of my latte. Other than that, I felt bad about how I'd treated Parker. I shouldn't have told Parker to fuck off like I did, and I knew he was hurt, but I was hurting too.
Calum just kind of grunted and rolled his eyes, and for a second I felt even more bad about it all. It had been a complete mess. Me and Parker arguing, me almost getting myself killed, Parker freaking out on Calum. Once again I felt embarrassed, and that immediately made me think of the night before, praying that Calum wouldn't bring it up.
"Parker's the one who should be apologizing. But to you, not to me", he answered.
See, I knew he was right, but I cared about Parker so much, and I knew that even though I'd felt fairly confident in telling him off, I would keep forgiving him in some way. He was my best friend, and I didn't want to lose him because of all these stupid little things.
"I don't know what's wrong with him, he's been acting up lately", I then said, sighing before taking another sip of my coffee. It felt warm and comforting on top of everything. This day had been an almost complete shitshow.
"He cares about you. A lot. I can tell", Calum answered, a slight smile touching his lips before he drank some of his coffee. For a second I just looked at him, and I could feel myself drifting away in that zone I tended to get into whenever he was around.
He was wearing a somewhat fitted baseball tee, black skinny jeans and Vans. Somehow I could see the 12-year old Calum somewhere far within him, but a combination of the effect the passed years had had on the both of us had changed my view on him. He wasn't this kid who I used to play in my front yard with. Who I would have a sleepover with almost every single weekend. I missed those times so bad, and if I could've somehow gone back to make Calum stay, I'm pretty sure that I would've. Who knows what we could've become. It didn't matter now though. Any of it. We weren't children anymore, and I couldn't go back and somehow fix everything that broke.
"You keep doing that", Calum suddenly said, brutally pulling me out of my train of thought.
"Doing what?" I asked, blinking a couple of times.
"Staring", he chuckled, and I immediately felt my cheeks burn, but I tried to play it off by drinking some more coffee, hiding half of my face behind the cup.
"I'm sorry, I guess I just zoned out", I answered and shrugged, but Calum kept looking at me with this smirk on his face. "What?" I asked, raising one of my eyebrows.
"You're still the same, Ella", he answered after a while.
"I don't think so", I quickly stated.
"And why is that?"
I shook my head, finishing my coffee before I spoke.
"It's been eight years, Calum, I've grown up", I answered.
"Yeah, well, now that it's such a long time ago, mind if I tell you a secret?" he suddenly asked, instantly awakening my curiosity.
"Not at all."
"I used to have the biggest crush on you when we were younger", he then told me, and I couldn't help but smile. I really did have no idea, so he'd been quite good a hiding it.
"Really?" I asked, tilting my head a bit to the side. That dumb smile was still on my lips and I couldn't remove it.
"Really," he answered, "I used to think you were the best thing that had ever happened to me." Then he shrugged and drank some more coffee.
Used to. Out of everything he'd said, those were the two words echoing in my head and wiping the smile off of my face. Once again I was reminded of what no longer was, and it was so stupid that it kept making me feel this way.
But now that we were talking about what happened back then, maybe it was time to get some answers.
"We have quite a lot to talk about, don't we?" I mumbled after a moment of just letting this new information sink in. Not that it really mattered that Calum used to have a crush on me, but still.
"Like what?" he asked.
"Like the fact that you just left me, Calum. What was that about?" I was trying not to sound too affected by it all, but he could probably still tell that this was something I'd been holding in for a while.
"A lot of shit happened, okay? There was nothing I could do", he answered and sighed, leaning back in the chair he was sitting in and running a hand through his hair. His answer frustrated me, because it was exactly the same he'd told me back then. That there was nothing to do about it. And maybe there wasn't, but he couldn't just leave me hanging like he did.
"Do you have any idea of how it made me feel though?" I mumbled. I'd felt completely crushed when he'd just disappeared. Maybe I didn't have a crush on him too back then, but I loved him to the moon and back and I'd felt like he never even cared when he'd been so nonchalant about leaving.
"Do you have any idea of how I felt?" Calum asked back, the tone in his voice suddenly slightly harsher than before. "Have you ever thought about the fact, that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't any of your business, Ella? That it wasn't about you."
Somewhere inside of my head I knew he was right. Something obviously happened in his life, and I'd kind of made the entire situation about myself somewhere along the way. But every single one of his words still felt like taking a hit to the stomach, because I was afraid he was going to push me away once again. Me and Parker were not on good terms, if I lost Calum as well I would have no one to turn to.
"I-I'm sorry", I whispered, turning my gaze towards the empty coffee cup in front of me, afraid to look him directly in the eyes. I could hear him sigh, and after that we stayed quiet for a while.
"No, I'm sorry," he mumbled, and I finally felt like I had the courage to look at him, "but don't you think that it was easy, okay? I didn't want to go, I had to."
I tried to understand, but I barely had any information to work with, so that made it difficult. And like Calum had said, I'd just have to accept that it wasn't necessarily any of my business just because I'd been affected by what happened.
"Can't we just walk about something else?" he then asked and I instantly nodded, wanting to forget about this conversation.