It was seven thirty in the morning. Jim and Pam were on their way to work. The two of them waited for Helene to arrive to take care of Philip before they dropped off Cece at preschool. Seeing his daughter wave goodbye to them with a huge smile on her face was a good start to Jim’s day. Despite being almost three years old, Jim still saw her as the same little bundle of joy that inspired him to want to be a better person in life and always strive for the best.
“She seemed to be in a good mood today,” he told Pam in an attempt to break the silence between them. Yesterday was the first time that he had not slept beside his wife from the moment they had gotten engaged. He was glad, hopeful even, that she seemed to be responsive when he said he would give her time. However, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the journey to saving their marriage would not be easy.
“Yeah, she’s been making a lot of friends at school,” Pam responded. “She can’t stop talking about them a home. I remember meeting some of them during her dance recital. I—,”
She suddenly paused and Jim realized that they hadn’t fully talked about what had happened during the recital. They had just briefly touched on it during Valentine’s when he found out that she cried in front of Brian. He hadn’t even watched the video that Pam was able to procure from one of the parents.
His train of thought was interrupted when his phone started ringing. It was Wade, one of his colleagues from Athlead. He remembered dropping the call on him the day before as it almost caused him to have argument with Pam. He had not picked up any his calls afterwards as he was too focused on fixing his marital problems. He also knew that picking up this particular call would erase any progress that he had just made with his wife.
“So uhh…so did you see Dwight’s email?” he quickly asked as he rejected the call.
“Oh yeah, ‘You are formally invited to Dwight K. Schrute’s black belt ceremony’. I wonder what’s that gonna be like?”
“Well, let’s hope he doesn’t use anyone was a practice dummy. He’ll probably use Clark though,” Jim laughed at his own response. “Oh, we’re here.”
Jim parked the car and smiled to himself on the way out.
“So Dwight’s getting his black belt today. There will probably be ninjas that will pop out of nowhere and there will probably be a rock and roll training montage,” he told the camera crew. “I don’t know, I have a feeling today will be good day.”
Pam was in a relatively better mood compared to yesterday. Watching Dwight’s ceremony was able to take her mind off of things. She smiled at Jim who was clearly amused at everything that was happening especially when Dwight kept thrusting his hip at his sensei who was trying to change his belt. She missed seeing his husband be his goofy self.
She did not have a lot of time to process the events of last night. When Jim unexpectedly came home, she was unsure of how to react. While she was happy to see and kiss him, she was also afraid that he will be in a rush to fix their problems. She was shocked, but thankful at the same time, that he told her that he will give her time.
After Dwight had performed his final kata forms and almost hitting Pam in the process, almost everyone in the office applauded and went to the break room for a quick celebration. David had called Jim to his office for a quick meeting so she waited for him with Angela standing beside her.
Pam noticed that her coworker was not her usual self. Her hair was unruly, dark circles were forming on her eyes, and she was carrying a giant cup similar to the one Meredith has at her desk. She did not reek of alcohol but she was certain that she had slipped in something in her drink.
Hey, are you okay? You don’t look so good,” she asked.
“Let’s see Pam. The senator left me, the county took all of my cats and I’m left with nothing. I mean look at me, I look even worse than Meredith and she looks homeless. Does that answer your question, does it?”
Pam was shocked, not by Angela’s snark but by how her life seemed to have made a 180-degree turn in a span of two days. Angela sighed, “Look I’m sorry. It’s just… I’m having a rough time. I’m surprised you’re holding up well.”
“What do you mean?”
“Clark told us everything that happened yesterday. He said he saw you crying and walking away. Then he saw Jim going inside looking for you. Then he went to the same direction you did. He assumed you guys just came from a fight.”
“Wait, Jim was looking for me?”
“Yes. Also, I normally don’t gossip but word on the street is you two might be getting a divorce. And if I wasn’t a complete mess right now, I would be judging you.”
“Umm, okay thanks,” Pam said as she walked away. She was surprised to learn that Jim was looking for her yesterday. She began to wonder if he had found her crying in the hallway and if so, how much of her conversation with Nellie did he hear.
“So Jim, how’s Athlead doing?” David asked.
“Uhh yeah, we’re doing fine. Starting a business is tougher than I thought and I don’t get to see Pam and the kids as much as I want to,” Jim replied.
“Okay, and just to clear the air, you do understand why I had to cut your pay right? And why I didn’t hear out your investment spiel. But I am sorry that you had to that while you were on speaker, that was not my intention.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. I knew it was a bad idea to begin with but I just needed to do it so I can tell the guys that I tried and it didn’t work.”
“Okay, so before I get to what I actually wanted to talk to you about. I just have to ask, are you okay? You seem pretty off today.”
Jim look down at the conference table, contemplating if he should tell David what was really going on. “Hey David, you’ve been married for a long time right?”
“Yeah, I guess. Why’d you ask?”
“I’m sorry if it seems intrusive. But did you and wife ever have problems that you thought you couldn’t fix?”
He looked down on the table again. He didn’t want to know how David reacted to his question.
“Yeah, of course. Jim, when I got fired, it was brutal. It was the lowest point of my life. My wife and I would get into a lot of arguments. I actually thought at some point, that she would leave me. But we eventually got past it, and here we are, stronger than ever. I’m assuming you’re having marriage troubles of your own?”
Jim nodded his head silently.
“Okay, I don’t want to get into it especially if it’s uncomfortable for you, but I know you love Pam. You turned down a job at corporate so you can be with her. Not many people give up their professional goals for love, I can tell you that much. You may be feeling like you’ve lost her but you just have to continue reaching out to her.”
“Ok…thanks David,” Jim replied. “So what is it that you wanted to talk about?”
“So the reason that I called you in here is because Andy is moving on.” David went on as he consulted Jim about his plan to promote Dwight to Regional Manager of Scranton.
As Jim headed out the conference room, Pam went to him and asked, “So what did you guys talk about?”
“Uhh, just some stuff,” Jim looked at Pam whom he could tell looked unconvinced with his answer. “Oh but he asked me how I felt about Dwight being regional manager and I recommended him. So that’ll be fun.”
For the first time in two days, the two of them burst into laughter.
Pam was fixing herself up in the women’s bathroom. It was almost the end of the day and she was waiting for Jim to finish up with work so they can head home. She did not want to be late as they promised Cece that they would be the ones to pick her up from school.
Just a few minutes ago, Dwight had been promoted to regional manager. She was genuinely excited to see her friend finally get what he has always wanted. She was also glad to see Jim not only come through for him and at the same time, have something to look forward to as Dwight offered him to be the assistant-to-the-regional manager. Knowing Jim, she knows this would mean a lot more pranks on Dwight. “Maybe,” she thought to herself, “he’ll have fun when he’s here. Maybe we’ll have fun.”
Before she could step out, she overheard two voices outside in the kitchen.
“We got an offer on the table”
“What kind of offer?”
The conversation between Jim and Darryl went on as Pam continued to listen from inside the bathroom.
“Wade said we could do the whole country in three months.”
“Oh man. Yeah, I can’t do it.”
“Can’t do what?”
“This, man. I can’t do this to Pam. I’m on the brink of losing her. I just, I can’t afford to lose my family Darryl.”
“No, no, Jim. This is different. This is everything.”
“I know. And I can’t do it.”
Pam slowly opened the door and saw Jim walking out of the kitchen. She felt dejected. She knew she was supposed to be happy that Jim is choosing her over his dream but she can’t help but feel like he got forced into the situation because of her.
The car ride home was filled with uncomfortable silence. They had just picked up Cece from school and she had fallen asleep as soon as she was seated. Although, his eyes were on the road, Jim could tell that Pam was deep in thought. He would ask her about it he wasn’t preoccupied between driving and thinking about the conversation he just had with Darryl. While he was happy that his effort had finally paid off, he remained in his resolve that his family was more important and he needed to do whatever it takes to keep them together.
As they arrived at their house, they saw Helene waiting for them outside. As she approached them, Pam opened her window seat and said, “Mom, can you get Cece first? I just need to discuss something with Jim.”
As Helene left with their sleeping child, Jim sat quietly, waiting for Pam to start the conversation.
He looked at Pam and he saw her fidgeting her fingers. After a few seconds, she finally spoke, “Jim, I heard you and Darryl talking. I was in the bathroom,”
“Oh…so you know?” Jim asked. He was relieved that he didn’t have to keep it a secret to her but at the same time, unsure of how the conversation will go.
“Yes, Athlead has an offer and there will be a three-month tour across the country.”
“And you also probably heard me say that I can’t do it?”
“I don’t know, Jim. What do you want me to say?”
“Seriously Pam?” Jim was already getting frustrated at her indifference, “I’m telling you I’m giving up this opportunity for you, to save our family, and all I get is ‘What do you want me to say?’”
“Well, I really don’t know. What do you want from me Jim?”
“I want you to talk to me. I’m really trying here, Pam. But I don’t know how to solve it if I don’t know what the hell your problem is”
“My problem?” Pam finally raised her voice. “My problem Jim is I want you to stay!”
“And I said I was staying for you!”
“But I know you want to do this but you’ve decided to make this huge sacrifice so you get to be the good husband! So congratulations Jim, you win
because apparently I’m the one who’s holding you back!”
“I win?” Jim said as he hung his head avoiding the urge to cry, “Is that really what you think? That I’m playing a game with you…that I’m doing all of this to feel like I’m a good person?”
“Jim, I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant, I—,”
“Pam, I don’t know what else I can do to make you believe me. I… I heard you tell Nellie that loving me might not be enough to save us, is that really
how you feel?”
“You heard that…”
“Yeah, I did” Jim braced himself for her answer. He was internally praying that she would say it was just something that was said at the spur-of-the-moment
“Jim, I love you … but I really feel like you’ll resent me if you choose to stay. Which is why I can’t bring myself to open up myself to you again. I just… I can’t—,” Pam pause mid-sentence as she covered her face with her hands and started sobbing.
“I don’t know, I have a feeling today will be good day.” Jim remembered telling the camera crew as tears started streaming down his face.
It was eight in the evening. Jim sat on his bed as he prepared his overnight bag. The two of them agreed that it would be best if Jim stayed in Philadelphia for the rest of the week while they continue to figure things out.
Misery took over him as all the progress they had made in the past two days seem to have been obliterated. “Back to square one I guess,” he thought to himself. He did not want to think that this will end in divorce as he cannot imagine a future without Pam by his side.
He felt his phone ring in his pocket. He grabbed it and answered.
“Hello? Oh hey—how are you doing…."
"Oh yeah, I left you a message because… umm is it okay if I come….I’m just having some…."
Jim had a smile on his face as the call progressed, "Oh okay, yeah sure I can get there tomorrow morning. Alright, see you then.”
“Daddy?” Cece said as she peaked inside the guest bedroom after Jim had finished his call.
“Hey sweetie, what is it?” As he approached her daughter.
“Why sad Daddy?”
“Oh no…I’m not sad,” Jim said as he hugged Cece and wiped the tears forming in his eyes. “It’s just, I haven’t seen your dance yet”
“Mommy has the video!” Cece grabbed at his arm and led him to Pam who was sitting on the couch.
“Hey, what’s up?” She asked.
“Oh, Cece wants me to see her dance recital”
“Oh okay, come on sweetie let’s all sit on the couch,” Pam grabbed the DVD containing the recital from the shelf, inserted it in the player and opened the television.
As the video started playing, they all waited in anticipation for Cece until it was her turn.
“Hey, you did the move. Cece Spin and Kiss! I’m so proud of you! Let’s watch it again,” Jim said as he hit the rewind button.
On their fourth rewatch, Cece had already fallen asleep. Jim was still as excited as the first time he watched the video. He could not get over seeing her daughter twirl around onstage. He then felt Pam’s head on his shoulder. A few seconds later, he felt his shirt getting wet. He gave her a kiss on her head and rubbed her back. As he continued comforting her, he whispered in her ear, "Hey, it's going to be okay."
“God, please let this be okay,” he thought to himself as he pressed the rewind button once again, finding solace in his daughter’s joy.