The lack of seasons in southern California means that time passes differently here. We started working on the movie in January and when I next looked up it was the beginning of summer.
The Florida shoot had been a turning point for me. Professionally, I had weathered the long days and proved that I was capable of most anything the producers could throw at me. Personally, I had bonded with the other crew members in relationships that I already knew were special. I was secretly the most pleased with my new friendship with the director.
By June, the movie production was wrapping up. I had watched with fascination as movie magic turned the cast into old men. I had covered a living legend’s body in bubble wrap. I had seen things that no sweet young girl wants to see.
For my 23rd birthday, most of the crew celebrated at an out-of-the-way Italian place in Hollywood. Afterwards, the director paid a homeless man singing on the street corner to serenade me with Happy Birthday. There is a picture of me from that night, standing on Hollywood Boulevard with my friends, listening to the birthday song. Ponytailed and tipsy, I look almost as happy as I felt.
It had been just one year from the time my heart broke into a million pieces and my flight to Los Angeles. Much of that time I’d spent in a fog, drowning in confusion and regret. But meeting these people and working on this movie, it changed everything for me. Simultaneously, I learned how rich and rare life’s experiences are and how everything doesn’t have to be so precious.
At the end of the summer, Dr. Megan left Los Angeles for medical school in Atlanta. In many ways, I was devastated that my friend, my roommate, my crutch, was leaving California, but I also felt that together we had built a good foundation of support in LA and I never considered moving myself. Her departure meant that there was a vacancy in the personal assistant position to the director and the main talent for the movie, so I filled her role temporarily.
I was, by anyone’s account, a terrible assistant. I forgot about important meetings, I accidentally hung up on important people. Assisting, in general, has never been my strength. But it did mean that I spent more time with the director, a man whom I’d had growing affection for since our trip to Florida. My admiration from a distance had long since turned into a schoolgirl crush, but the thought of anything romantic between us was outlandish. He was in a serious long-term relationship and I was enjoying a fun summer fling. I giggled at the thought of the director in the same way one swooned over their teacher. Out one night with visiting girlfriends, I pointed at him from across the bar.
“See that guy? If he were drop to his knee right at this moment and ask me to marry him, I would say yes.”