“I know this was really weird, and it was really hard. But I think we’re making progress,” Jim said as he knelt beside his wife. “So I’m really sorry that I have to go but let’s keep at this. Ok?”
He was exhausted on their first day after they had started going to couple’s therapy. Things were going smoothly at first, despite going through the monotonous routine of speaking their truths and appreciating each other’s sacrifices. One phone call from Athlead however, sent them back to another round of arguments, followed by what seemed like an endless silence.
Ever since Pam confessed that she did not want to move to Philadelphia, the wall which had already started building between them became tougher to break. Just a few weeks back, Jim was amused when Pam was telling him over the phone that their daughter, Cece, had been calling her “Pamela”. However, he could not find the words to sustain their conversation for more than a minute. They have had off days when they were dating. But this was no longer just them being a little out-of-sync. Their marriage was in trouble, and Jim knew it.
As he waited for a response, he stared into Pam’s eyes. The same green eyes that he had been in love with from the first time she first introduced him to his new desk mate Dwight. The eyes that took a mental picture of him as he cut his tie to make her feel better at their wedding. The eyes that he wished could hold on for a little while longer.
“Ok,” Pam responded as she smiled weakly to her husband. She resumed working on her computer as Jim stood up to get his coat at reception.
Blocked up. Her heart felt like it was numb from any form of emotion the entire day. She had gained so much courage when she confessed her feelings to Jim at the beach. Fast forward six years and she felt like all of it had dissipated.
She wished she had the courage to say something other than one word to him, similar to how she wished it did not take her months to finally confess that she did not want to move to Philadelphia. Ever since he started working part time for Athlead, she had felt their relationship crumbling. However, she could not muster up the strength speak up on how she was having a hard time dealing with work and their two kids alone. Similar to her engagement with Roy, she could not find it in herself to be more honest about how she could no longer accept the situation that Jim had put her in.
Fear slowly began to creep in as she wondered if it was all too late and if there was still hope for their marriage to be saved.
She turned around to say goodbye, but Jim had already left. She stared longingly at his desk, the same desk that she would go to whenever she was bored or would want to goof around with her best friend. She looked at his telephone and reminisced about the time she had left him several messages during the situation with Michael’s carpet. Beside the phone, she noticed a small gray object and that was when she realized — Jim had forgotten his umbrella.
The weather was actually fine that day and there were no indications that it would change, but the thought never entered Pam's mind as she rushed to the elevator, hoping that she would still be able to catch him. She was not sure of what exactly she will do or say, but she knew that she had to see him before he left again.
Still unsure with how he left things with Pam, Jim walked to his taxi which was on the way to Philadelphia. He tried to say goodbye in the office, but she had gone back to work on her computer.
Maybe I’ll call her at the bus station — he thought to himself.
As he prepared to go inside, he heard someone scream his name. He looked back and saw Pam running to him while holding out an umbrella.
“Thanks,” he said as he kissed her on the cheek while she wished him a safe trip.
As he watched her walk away, he had finally decided that he could no longer bear to see her in pain as he ran towards her and grabbed her arm. He held both her hands and studied every feature of the woman whom he had vowed to spend the rest of his life with.
He could not figure out what to say to her. Jim usually has a way with words but in that instance, he was speechless. Out of desperation from not knowing what else he can do, he hugged her. With each passing moment, he continued to tighten his embrace as if he never wanted to let go.
After a few seconds, he realized that she had not yet reciprocated the hug. He closed his eyes and continued to wait, hoping that he had done enough to show her that he was willing to give everything up for her.
“Jim,” he heard her say. It was just one word but that was all it took for him to let go. He then remained motionless, still holding her arms, bracing himself for what was about to come. “I … I need time.”
His heart shattered into a million pieces as she slowly let herself free from his grasp and headed towards the door.
“Pam, please…” he pleaded. She stopped at her tracks for what seemed like an eternity but then continued to go inside as she wiped a tear from her eye.
Jim remained in his position as he watched the love of his life walk away. He held back the tears that were starting to form in his eyes. He most likely would have started crying had he not been interrupted by the honking of the taxi driver, asking if he was still heading to Philadelphia.