TO SAY GOODBYE
The following day Lee, having found himself both suspended by Billy and busted with Amanda for breaking into the Post Office in an attempt to recover the package, takes Amanda for a walk with only one thought in mind – to ditch her.
As they mount the steps towards the memorial it starts to dawn on Amanda that this is it – that Lee is saying goodbye. She, as he wastes no time in reminding her, has another life to get back to. One that doesn’t include packages or spies.
That’s all very well for him to say, but what about him? What is his life beyond what little she knows of him? When she asks he gives little away:
“Not so you’d notice.”
She presses further: “So no Mrs Spy? No little spies? No girlfriends? No buddies?” Surely there must be someone in his life?
But no, he’s a loner. What’s more, he likes things that way!
His little declaration still doesn’t deter her, however. Perhaps recalling the two women who approached him at the party the night before, Amanda doesn’t hold back in giving him the benefit of her advice.
The trouble is, the sort of “nice girl” Amanda is thinking of would probably mean commitment and a relationship consisting of more than one night of fun and at this point in his life Lee Stetson is definitely not interested in that.
“Look, don’t worry about it okay?” he tells her, swinging round to face her, trying to remain pleasant despite his irritation that this woman whom he barely knows sees fit to offer him advice on his love life!
However, Amanda isn’t finished and offers him an invitation to her family’s Thanksgiving celebrations. “Do you have some place to go Thanksgiving?”
Lee finds himself getting ever more exasperated. He doesn’t want to discuss his plans for Thanksgiving, particularly when the only thing on his mind is off-loading her and getting on with his life! And surely she realises that he likes to operate alone?
For Lee, denial is quick to surface when Amanda blithely mentions the fact that they have worked together. Nope, they weren’t partners! No way was Amanda his partner!!
In his determination to let her know precisely what a partner is and without even realising he’s done it until it is too late, Lee blurts out exactly how he feels about having a partner – and its tragic consequences.
He shocks even himself in having spoken so freely.
The pain that steals across his face in the aftermath more than portrays the sadness and guilt he still carries in knowing that he was the one his partner sacrificed his life for. Amanda, for her part, certainly wasn’t expecting him to speak so candidly and can only stare at him in stunned silence.
Lee, still reeling from compulsively blurting out how badly his last partnership ended, turns away from Amanda and takes a moment to try and pull himself together.
In that moment it is as though he has exposed the wounded, sensitive man he is so determined to hide and even though he studiously continues to resist it, he can see that Amanda is more than willing to offer her friendship to him. Yet he refuses to be drawn, both in the physical sense by further stepping away from her and in the metaphorical sense by closing his mind to the possibility of accepting any overture of friendship. After what happened to his partner, he certainly doesn’t want to work with anyone else again – and certainly not with someone as raw and as inexperienced as a housewife from Arlington.
When Amanda tries to talk to him about his partner he makes sure his barriers are firmly in place. He may have let his guard slip once but he’s not going to allow that to happen again.
It is enough. Amanda can only respect his wish not to talk any further on the matter, although he doesn’t give her any time to really think about it as he makes his move to leave her.
“Will I see you again?”
His answer is pretty succinct, allowing no room for possibilities. “No.”
Amanda doesn’t even attempt to hide her disappointment. She has no choice but to accept that it’s over. It seems that he is determined to leave her life just as quickly as he entered it.
With that Lee says his final goodbyes to her before leaving her standing there alone.
Turning, Amanda watches his retreating figure, unable to resist one last call goodbye.
Lee merely offers her a rather half-hearted wave, seemingly determined not to look fully back at her, before disappearing down the steps and out of sight. As far as he is concerned, he will never see Amanda again. He might have involved her in the whole business with the package far more than he had originally anticipated, but all that’s over now. He can go back to his life and she can go back to hers.
For Amanda the moment is bittersweet. On the one hand she is now free to return to the life she was living before that morning at the train station; on the other, she has had a small but seductive taste of excitement. Even though it was brief, she stepped beyond the realms of mother and housewife and experienced a little of the adventure that would normally be confined to her TV screen at home. Lee has inadvertently made her more aware of what lies beyond the confines of her white picket fence. There is also no doubt that Lee sorely needs a friend, but it seems that he has taken the chance of her ever being that away with him too…