Summary: At first they want to send a camera crew to tail him at Stamford too. Post-Casino Night.
At first they want to send a camera crew to tail him at Stamford too. Jim sits in the room while Andrew and Pete argue with Jan about the merits of the documentary, the real-ness of it all, the tension (wait – what?) blah blah blah. He plays with his tie throughout the conversion, toying with it, staring at the stripes. He has nothing to say, but he's glad that Jan is putting her foot down on this one. She says that they're here to film the Scranton branch, and only the Scranton branch, and they need to be satisfied with whatever hell Michael is stirring up there instead of following Jim.
They settle for a check-up interview every Friday. Jim doesn't understand why they're so desperate to talk to him. No, check that, he totally does, but he doesn't want to. Andrew tells him it'll be new guys, same company, but they'll be based in Stamford instead and that they'll come to the office every Friday to chat. He really hates that – "to chat". As if they're going to talk about baseball or something.
He knows what they'll talk about.
Michael has a goodbye party for him and tries to make the party planning committee do a Connecticut theme, but Phyllis tells Michael that they can't do a theme like that. How do you do a theme like that? Michael settles for a Massachusetts theme instead; they're right next to each other anyway. Jim slices up cake that says "GOODBYE JIM. GOOD LUCK." with a picture of what he thinks is supposed to be Paul Revere on a horse. It's hard to tell through the icing. He gives Pam the piece that has Paul Revere's head and a little bit of the K in LUCK. Their fingers brush when he hands it to her, and she moves away.
Everyone gives him a present. It's sweet. He didn't know they would do that. Michael gets him a gift certificate for twenty dollars to Hooter's. Kelly gives him a new tie from "her and Ryan" even though Ryan looks like he wants to die, but it's nice of her. Dwight gives him a bobble-head and a smirk. Cute.
She doesn't get him anything.
They haven't talked since Casino Night. He's a little relieved. He doesn't know what he could possibly say to her. "Hey, how's it going?" "So, about that kiss…" "What do you say to coming to Australia?" "Are you going to marry Roy?" "You tasted like wine and strawberries and there was a little bit of sweetness in the back of your mouth." His all-time personal favorite: "Do you love me?" Sometimes he thinks she's looking at him when he's working at his desk, clearing it out. It makes him uncomfortable how easy it is to ignore it.
Easy in a conscious, knuckles-turning-white, heart-speeding-up, trying-to-focus-on-his-work sort of way.
He drives up to Stamford on a Friday afternoon when the sun's low in the sky. He has confetti in his hair and on his shoulders from the goodbye party, but he doesn't brush it off. If things were better (and he hopeswisheshopeswants) then maybe Pam would have slid her hands along his arms and gently picked them out, but all she did was sip her fruit punch and give him these looks that made him think that everything, this, the transfer, was killing her inside. Resignation made gray circles underneath her eyes and he so, so wanted to smooth her bangs off her forehead and kiss her just below her eyebrow. He cut the cake instead, marveled over his gifts.
He doesn't actually start at Stamford until after he comes back from Australia, which is only a week away, but Jim asks Jan if he can take his remaining vacation days from Scranton and move into his apartment early. He tells her that he wants to make sure everything's organized before he leaves. Jan's nice about it; she says "of course" in a way that she obviously understands how desperate he is to leave. Maybe she thinks it's Michael. It could be Michael. Jim wishes that it was that simple, to blame things on an inept boss. He thinks about starting work and being away from the cameras and he thinks about the receptionist at Stamford and if it's a woman and if so if she's pretty.
Her picture is in his wallet, tucked into the billfold. Sometimes he takes it out and imagines that they're married and he carries a picture of her, his wife (ohgodohgod), and when he shows her off people laugh and say that he's so in love because he is. He really is.
The apartment in Stamford is above an Indian-run grocery store and when he goes into there to buy milk, the owner's wife manning the cashier tells him through her thick accent that she's never seen him before and asks if he's new. Jim says yeah, he is, and she gives him a dimpled smile and he can't help but smile back, and the feeling of misgiving in his chest loosens a little. When he goes in there in the afternoon to pick up bread, she hands him a hot samosa and gives him a wink, and Jim wishes that Pam were here because she would have loved to meet this woman with her dimples.
He sits down on his couch, which is the only thing that's really set up right now, amidst the unpacked boxes, and stares at the whitewashed walls, at the sunlight playing off the scrubbed mantel, at the shadows deepening the corners of the room. The picture of Pam is in his hand and he runs his fingers along the corners, closes his eyes and remembers the way she looks when she's happy, when she's laughing. It's June 2nd. He has the calendar in his mind now, June 10th circled with a mental red sharpie; June 8th is an afterthought. Jim thinks that he really should get up and do some research about what he's going to do in Sydney, but besides reserving a hotel room, he hasn't done very much.
On June 7th he makes a decision and he starts packing for the trip. Shirts, pants, swimsuit, underwear. Everything is still scattered around his bed. He can't find his cologne, his good tie. He worries for a minute and then wonders why he would need his good tie on vacation anyway. As an afterthought he grabs the tie that Kelly gave him; it's a nice tie. Jim thinks that Ryan should maybe give Kelly more of a chance because she really is quite nice. His flight is first thing in the morning, and he's already called the travel agency to reroute him through LaGuardia International because it's the closest airport to Stamford.
Someone keeps calling him and hanging up after he says hello. Once he lets it go to voicemail and he can hear silence and then the distinct click after his message. He hopes that it's Pam and his palms begin to sweat.
He goes to bed at eleven, but he can't sleep. He hasn't set up his air-conditioner yet and the ceiling fan above his head rotates in slick, hot circles. The air is so muggy that sweat slides effortlessly down his neck even as he tries to hold himself perfectly still. Around one he gets up and sits with one knee up in his desk chair and starts exactly thirty-seven e-mails to Pam (he counts), none of which say what he wants to say:
Hi, it's Jim
Pam, it's Jim
Hi Pam. It's Jim. But you know that.
I'm really sorry about what happened.
At three in the morning, he sends her the final draft. At first he was going to write her one that said "have a good life", but he noticed that he sounded too embittered. He doesn't want to sound embittered; he wants to sound satisfied and happy, in that self-pitying sort of manner. He even wants to sound vindictive, like she's missing something she can't have, like sticking your tongue out on the playground. He doesn't write that though. He writes what he really does want for her. He thinks that maybe if it's not perfect, then it's damn near good enough, and then he gets in the shower.
Six AM. Jim's standing in line for his security check. Ryan calls his cell phone.
"Don't go," he tells him. "She's coming."
"What?" Jim says.
"Don't go," Ryan says again. "Pam's coming. She called me really early."
She finds him on the curb, one hand on his carry-on. Her hair catches the light and he thinks she looks beautiful climbing out of the cab. When she kisses him, he notices that she tastes like rain and coffee and there's still a little bit of sweetness in the back of her mouth.
To: Pam [firstname.lastname@example.org]
From: Jim [email@example.com]
Date: Jun 8, 2006 03:11:29
Don't forget – something old, something new; something borrowed, something blue. But knowing you, you probably remembered it all.
I hope it's a good day, Beesly. You'll look beautiful.