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Story Notes:
And the flowers I knew in the fields where I grew were content to be lost in the crowd.
They were common and close, I had no room for growth, and I wanted so much to branch out.
So I uprooted myself from home ground and left, took my dreams and I took to the road.
When a flower grows wild it can always survive: wildflowers don't care where they grow.
“Hey, can I talk to you about something?”

Pam felt good. Warm and light and smiley and like she could go back in the warehouse and win the next hundred hands of poker solely because of her astoundingly good mood. So sure, yeah, he could talk to her about something. But first he needed to match her mood; needed to be just as effervescent as she felt.

“About when you wanna give me more of your money?” She teased him, unable to wipe the grin off of her face even if she wanted to.

“No, I--”

“Do you wanna do that now? We can go inside. I’m feelin’ kinda good tonight.” He smiled, a little. He could do better.

“I was just, um--” he gestured over his shoulder, pointing back towards the building. Why wasn’t he in as good of a mood as she was? They’d been having so much fun! The way he called her
bluff had made her laugh so hard. And the drinks and Dwight in a tuxedo and she was just this side of tipsy, where it was still funny and didn’t feel bad yet. The entire night was spread out before her with the same kind of promise that two good cards and a table full of folding cowards had.

“I’m in...I mean, I got a promotion.” He looked like he might throw up and that was weird, because this was good news, right?

“Jim! That’s awesome!” She reached out to squeeze his arm and did he just shift away a little? Must have been a trick of the low light in the parking lot. Or maybe they were drunk. Was he drunk? She must be, because more words bubbled up and over the way that her wine spritzer had when the bartender overpoured. “Are you Dwight’s boss now? Are you the real Assistant Regional Manager?”

He wasn’t smiling.

The bubbles started popping.

“It’s funny because I am actually Assistant Regional Manager. It’s just, um...it’s in Stamford.”

“Stam...Scranton. You mean Scranton?” Obviously he meant Scranton. Stamford was in--

“Connecticut.”

“What are you...I mean, what do you expect--no, I mean that’s...that’s great.” Everything inside of her felt flat. Dull. She didn’t know why (she kind of did know, though, deep down in the place where she kept things she didn’t think about until right before she fell asleep and even then only very rarely and she surely wasn’t going to think about them now) and she missed before. Before she knew what she knew.

“Yeah. Thanks. I needed to tell you, you know, you needed to know. Before I leave.”

Leave. Before he leaves. Jim, her best friend, was leaving. “When is that?” Her voice sounded so small. “The leaving.” If she’d looked at him then she might have noticed the way his eyes were just a bit too glassy. She didn’t, though. She was too busy watching how her engagement ring didn’t sit quite right on her finger. It always fell to one side or the other. Maybe that was why she was constantly twisting it around.

Jim cleared his throat. “Today was my last day, Pam. I leave tomorrow.”

__________


From: Jim H, 05/20/06
Message: Made it to CT. Wanted to let you know.

To: Jim H, 05/20/06
Message: OK, thx. Glad you got there.


__________


To: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Tmrw will be weird w/o you.

From: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: We’ve talked about your text abbreviations before, Pam.

From: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: One day you’ll have to learn to text without them.

To: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Nvr

To: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Fine. My thumb is going to get really tired, though. Is this better?

From: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Much better. :-)

From: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Going to try to get some sleep. Big day tomorrow.

To: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: OK. Hope it goes well.

From: Jim H, 05/21/06
Message: Thanks, Pam. TTYL.


__________


Subject: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
Tues May 23, 2006, 11:14 AM

Hey Pen,

I’ll have to check with the church about how many outlets are in the dressing area. I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest. I’ve been preoccupied with work stuff. But I’m sure there will be enough for everybody’s things. It’s just you, mom, Roy’s sister in law (Lisa, I think you met her?), and Isabel. If worst comes to worst, we can alway share curling irons.

How are things going transitioning from student to staff? Or are you faculty? I never figured out the difference. But look at fancy new Penny, all grown up with her master’s degree and big girl job. We are all very proud of you. Can’t wait to see you soon.

-Pam

Subject: Re: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Tues May 23, 2006, 11:56 AM

You’re being weird. And that’s over EMAIL so you must be being REALLY weird in real life. What’s going on?

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
Tues May 23, 2006, 12:04 PM

Nothing. Why would you say that? I’m not being weird. How am I weird?

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Tues May 23, 2006, 1:23 PM

Cut the shit, Pam.

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
Tues May 23, 2006, 1:25 PM

Fine.

Can I call you? I’m about to take my lunch break and I’m pretty sure my boss is still monitoring our work emails.

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Important question!!!
Mailto: p.beesly@dundermifflin.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Tues May 23, 2006, 1:31 PM

3 hour time difference, remember? I’m in the middle of my morning at work. I can email, though. Just use your personal email, unless you’re one of those weirdos that doesn’t have one and only uses their work address.

Just kidding with you. I can tell something’s up. Talk to me!

Subject: ugh.
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: spike_daily_325@aol.com
Tues May 23, 2006, 1:49 PM

You’re lucky I even remembered the address to this email account. And I had like a thousand spam emails, which was annoying and something I didn’t need today.

Subject: Re: ugh.
Mailto: spike_daily_325@aol.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Tues May 23, 2006, 2:03 PM

Okay, before we get into anything else: what the HELL is this email address? Is it about that vampire from Buffy? You didn’t like, run a Spike fanpage or something, did you? I have a burning need to know everything.

Now that that’s out of the way: TALK TO ME.

Subject: Re: Re: ugh.
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: spike_daily_325@aol.com
Tues May 23, 2006, 2:15 PM

IT’S NOT A SPIKE THING. God, you are never going to let that go, are you? I mean, it is a spike thing, obviously, but spike as in volleyball spike.

Anyway, I don’t really know where to begin. I’m not really sure how I feel? Things are just...weird. And different. I don’t know.

You know my friend Jim, from work? He transferred to a different branch. I mean, he got a promotion, which is great. I’m really happy for him. But when he told me he was moving, it was almost like he’d wanted to say something else instead. I thought for a second that…

Ugh, this is hard, even just typing it. But I thought that he might tell me that he had feelings for me. And I was disappointed, I think, that he didn’t. I don’t know what that means, but I’ve been sick to my stomach since. Penny, I get married in 18 days and now I’m like second guessing everything because of something that didn’t even happen. All I really know is that Jim made me so happy and it’s only been two days since he moved and I miss my best friend. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him and how awful it is without him here. I look over at his desk and want to cry. What does that mean? There is still so much to do for the wedding and Roy is no help and I can’t focus because I just feel like something here is so, so wrong.

What do I do, Penny? Help me. I’m so anxious and everything feels wrong and I don’t know what to do.

Subject: Re: Re: Re: ugh.
Mailto: spike_daily_325@gmail.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Tues May 23, 2006, 2:27 PM

Find an excuse to get away from your desk and call me, as soon as you can. We’ll figure this out.

Love you.

__________


To: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Hope your first week went well!



From: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: A text from Pam with no abbreviations? I’m impressed!

From: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: It did go well. Thank you for asking. How is Scranton?

To: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Weird without you. Dwight is being awful.

From: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Sorry to leave you to deal with him all alone.

To: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: I think he must really miss you. :-)

To: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: I miss you, too.

From: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Miss you too, Pam.

From: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Headed out to a movie with some coworkers. TTYL?

To: Jim H, 05/27/06
Message: Have fun. TTYL.



__________


Subject: lakjsf;asjdfk
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: spike_daily_325@aol.com
Sun May 28, 2006 9:13 PM

I feel pretty sure there’s nothing there, Pen. I must have read more into our friendship than really was there. But it still doesn’t change the way that I suddenly have all of these things about mine and Roy’s relationship that used to not ever matter and now they matter so so so much. I don’t know what to do.


Subject: Re: lakjsf;asjdfk
Mailto: spike_daily_325@aol.com
From: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
Mon May 29, 2006, 10:24 AM

Pam, forget Jim for a minute. Remember everything that we talked about on the phone the other day and over the weekend. Remember what you need to be focusing on right now.

What do you want for your life? If you had unlimited resources, what would you do?
What makes you happy? Do you want to pursue those things?
Do you feel that in the last ten years, Roy has grown with you? Will he continue to grow and change with you? And if he doesn’t, is that something you’re willing to accept?

Jim shouldn’t be a factor in your life right now. If you decide to make major changes to your life, Jim does not need to be part of that. Put aside the way you feel about him and think about YOU, the things you can and can’t live without and the things you aren’t willing to compromise on. Okay?

I’ll call you when I get off work. And listen, I know right now things seem hard and sucky. They ARE hard and sucky. But everything will eventually settle and be alright. Things are always alright in the end, and if they’re not alright yet, it’s not the end.

Love you so much. Talk to you soon.

__________


To: Jim H, 05/31/06
Message: Hey, do you have a minute? I have something I wanted to tell you.



From: Jim H, 05/31/06
Message: :-( sorry! I’m heading out to dinner with a girl from work.

From: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: Didn’t hear back from you last night, just wanted to check in.

To: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: Thx, all good.

To: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: How was ur date

From: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: Haha, good. I didn’t know it was a date until halfway through. It went well despite that. :-)

From: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: Oh hey, what did you want to tell me?

To: Jim H, 06/01/06
Message: Nvm ab that, nothing big.



__________


To: Jim H, 06/03/06
Message: What I was going to tell you before is that I called off the wedding.



From: +ATT, 06/03/06
Message: SMS TEXT MESSAGE UNDELIVERABLE. “What I was going to tell you before is that I called off the wedding.


__________

Subject: Can’t stay here
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: spike_daily_325@aol.com
Sat June 3, 2006, 3:24 AM

I can’t stay in Scranton, Penny. I can’t. It all just hurts so much.

Subject: Re: Can’t stay here
Mailto: penelope.beesly@mills.edu
From: spike_daily_325@aol.com
Sat June 3, 2006, 10:57 AM

Honey, there is always a place for you here if you want to come visit. Hell, if you want to come stay. My guest room is always open.

__________


Subject: Travelocity travel confirmation
Mailto: pamela.beesly@gmail.com
From: email@e.travelocity.com
Sat June 10, 2006, 2:34 PM

PAMELA,

Thank you for booking your trip with Travelocity.com!
Your Travelocity trip ID is 7612 3482 1904
Find your full itinerary by logging into www.travelocity.com

PHL —>SFO
1 ticket, one-way
Flight details...click for more
Chapter End Notes:
title and story notes come from the song “wildflowers” by the incomparable Dolly Parton

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