That night we ate linguine in orange sauce and hamburgers and drank red wine in a cozy Cambrian restaurant. People wore shiny paper hats to celebrate. Large groups filled other tables. Their laughter free and loud rang over us. Us, in our bubble.
We carried our bottle of wine back to the motel, where I slipped into pajamas and a scarf. We took plastic cups and in the dark cut through a forest of cypress pines to the sea. A full white moon shone down on curls of ocean foam. The night air, crisp and cool, rang with the sound of waves crashing off the rocks below us.
We settled on a bench and filled our cups with wine.
Here's to 2010, William said, raising his cup.
To whatever it brings, to whatever happens and to being together when it does, I answered.
We smushed our cups together.
I leaned on the rough wood railing and peered across a sea both deep black and lit by the light of the moon. I wanted the dignity of getting married and was receiving so much more. Because of William I had seen cities far across this ocean. Because of him I could spend time in an elementary school yukking it up with kids and the Bard. Because of him I could write books.
William will tell you he has a "because of Mel" list but that's his to say. Of course I know the list but that's all I'm sayin'.
We know people will always watch movies and read books — perhaps not in theaters and perhaps not on paper, but the audience is out there. We dream of that audience and we share those dreams out loud to each other. Because of William my dreams don't sound so farfetched and ridiculous.
As I looked out on New Year's Eve of 2009, I pictured a small boat out a sea. A boat formerly with a single occupant, but now with two people. Two people using oars to cut over those waves and row forward, ever forward.
Since 2009 William has cut fourteen projects. In August 2014 Mel's book TEACHING WILL: What Shakespeare and 10 Kids Gave Me That Hollywood Couldn't will be published by Familius.