It was not uncommon for Jim Halpert to Google the name “Pam Beesley”.
Sometimes at work he would open a new browser and type her name into the search engine. He told himself it was harmless. A lot of people searched the Internet for information about their ex-girlfriends. It was just one of those things that people did. At least, that is how he validated it. Besides, it wasn’t like there was anything out there of value, anyway. The search always pulled the same results.
An announcement in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about a random woman named Pam graduating from the famed Beesley Law School.
Doctor Pam Stuart’s bio on the homepage of the Beesley Animal Humane Foundation of Rutherford County, Tennessee.
A listing of actor Max Beesley and his wife, Pam’s charitable pursuits.
The only result that showed promise was of a Pam Beesley taking second place at an art show in upstate New York that he found on page 14. Jim remembered Pam mentioning once that her Aunt Irene lived near Buffalo and her family used to visit every summer. They stopped going after her aunt passed away, but he knew she loved the area. But the mention of the award was merely that: a mention. No picture. No bio. Nothing. If he wanted to know for sure, he could have called the school and asked whomever answered the phone to describe the second-place finisher in great detail. But that may have been pushing it.
On this particular night, as Jim trudged through the work he had brought home with him, an e-mail sent from one Phyllis Vance landed in his inbox. The very fact that she had sent him something was a bit strange, because Jim hadn’t talked to her since her retirement party. It was an invitation to join one of those social networking sites that were all the rage.
Jim had tried valiantly to buck the trend, but he thought it would be nice to reconnect with an old friend from the Scranton branch. Plus, he knew some of his colleagues used this as a professional networking tool, and having contacts outside of the paper industry was never a bad thing.
As the site started to pull his contacts from his personal e-mail account and Jim watched a bit of his history scroll by, he realized how many contacts he had saved over the years. Ex-colleagues, old college roommates, ex-girlfriends…they were all there. He had a hard time letting go.
For the first time in more than four years, Jim came face-to-face with Pam Beesley, albeit virtually.
Gone was the frizzy, tightly curled hair that he knew so well. In its place were long, loose curls that framed what was possibly an even more beautiful face that, if he didn’t know better, contained a touch of makeup.
However, there was something else.
Jim used to think she reserved her most radiant smiles for him. They used to get him through the day. But the smile on display in the tiny image he was looking at was not a smile he knew. No, this was a different smile. He was looking at a different Pam altogether.
She looked truly happy and carefree. Without him.
Jim would be the first person to tell you that he fell in love with her the first time he laid eyes upon her. A future with her was never in doubt.
So, naturally, Jim wondered how he managed to fuck it up.