And it wasn’t that she had never felt cold before. It was nigh impossible, really living in the part of the country that she did; The state that she did; The coast that she did.
No Pam was used to cold by now. If she was being honest she hasn’t felt anything but cold for quite some time now it seemed like. Not since he had taken his life away and uprooted hers in one fell swoop.
He had dug deep into her carefully cultivated roots and ripped them out of the ground before taking flight, in the dead of night it seemed, to a state that was two hours away. A lifetime away, it seemed, from little Scranton.
So, no. Pam was used to cold. Had begun to expect it and was slowly adapting to growing new roots in this rocky and frost covered soil that seemed to be the barren remains of her soul. She had begun once more to settle into a routine which wasn’t easy when one was such a staunch creature of habit such as herself. Yet, she did it. The cold was different now, too, when there was no longer someone to come home to that drowned out the frostbite that seemed to be nipping at her resolve and her will to continue on in this place, this town, this job.
So, she was cold by herself in her little apartment that was slowly becoming just hers. And she was beginning to become okay with that.
She was still robotic in her actions and interactions with people as she was still frozen and she wasn’t sure if even the coming of spring would begin her thaw. Maybe she never would. And she was becoming okay with that.
It was only then, when she was settling once more, into anew routine that he came again to uproot it all.
He was coming back. Back! Back! Back to her!
Suddenly, the cold was almost unbearable when she knew that the sunshine was just around the corner ready to thaw her aching bones and warm her frostbitten heart. If she could make it until then… and see his smile and let his warmth revive her from the inside out… Then she would make it all okay again.
She would water their newly tilled and fertile soil to allow the relationship that was meant to be to blossom into what it was destined to become. She would tell him what she had wanted to say, what she had meant to say, and that her traitorous tongue had failed her once again, but her heart and mind knew now what she wanted.
What she needed.
Yet, when he came back he wasn’t Him. Not really.
He was new and foreign and chilly as well.
Maybe Jim had adapted to the cold, too.
It didn’t suit him, she knew at once, because he was made for warm weather and a warm climate. He was made of sunshine and daylight. Yet, he was different now and his hugs weren’t as close. His smile didn’t reach his frosty eyes. He was cold now, too.
He was cold with someone new.
So, Pam could do nothing but sit with her shame and her doubt. She could do nothing but sit with the what ifs and the could have beens swirling ever constant like the sugar in her tea. She found herself, too, wanting to dive deep into each cup and never resurface if it meant avoiding him and the woman he had brought back.
Her skin was warm and tan, but she was cold as well. She seemed to thrive in it. The cutting edge of the corporate world. The fake smiles, and the icy laughs, and the cutting ambition. She was changing him ever so slowly into that as well and Pam was watching herself lose him all over again in real time.
The cold was unbearable now. Too much. Too chilly. Too biting in her face like the wind when there was ice in the air.
So, she avoided as much as she could and found herself back in the arms of the one she hadn’t wanted before and still didn’t want again. She watched as it drove him farther away from her as well and couldn’t help but shed her bitter, icy tears at night and in the bathroom at work when she could.
She had her chance to grow in the sun and she had missed it. This was her lot now. To grow accustomed to the cold.
On and on and on it went with an end in sight not to be seen until she really couldn’t take it anymore.
She needed to become a new person, because the cold wasn’t for her anymore and as spring came back once more she knew, that even if she couldn’t have him, she needed to change herself for who she was meant to be and find her own way back to the warmth.
The coal lit a fire in her, and in her feet, but for the fire time in quite a long time Pam felt alive with light and warmth and fire. She had said what she needed to say and even if it change not a thing she was okay with that, because even if she could have his friendship back it would be enough to sustain her.
She reluctantly sought the cold out once more if only for her aching feet.
Yet, she could feel his radiant sunshine on her back as he approached.
He missed her, too. He needed her, too. He wanted her, too. It was all almost too much for her, and she couldn’t help the tears, which only drew him closer to her. His thumbs on her cheeks felt like fire but it burned so exquisitely that she couldn’t make herself turn away.
It was his lips on hers that light her up like a phoenix rising from the ashes of her once burned and broken heart.
“It’s only ever been you, Pam. You know that, right?” Was whispered feverishly against her lips. She breathed in the life and fire he was putting into her lungs and couldn’t help but smile radiantly back.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
They didn’t have to live in the cold anymore finally. They could learn to grow warm together in the light.