I have written a lot about the past dysfunction in my and Eric's marriage. And before I write about my most disturbing memories which I have subconsciously placed on the back burner- I want to share our story of falling in love. The sweet memories. The glue that kept us together no matter the situation. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, and everything in between.
It was June 2011. I was in my senior year of college working at a restaurant called Mr.G's Ristorante. Owned and operated by a Greek family that became my other family along with the employees I shared a lot of my time with. I worked there for four years. If I was not in class or at my local pub... I was working. I was twenty-two years old, with long blonde hair that desperately needed a trim, and a carefree spirit. Back then, life was easy. My worries were little, and my heart was big! Finances was not an issue, and my only concern was passing an exam I did not study or prepare for. Honestly, had I studied and listened in class I would have had a much higher gpa score. My goal was to graduate. And I did. I am so happy I did now. Education is important. Learning your value does not reciprocate on education, status, or choice of career. But achievements and goals do wonders for your self-esteem. Had I loved myself more back then and mainly the years to come; I would have not adapted such self-destructive behaviors. I was deceived. I had envisioned my life in the city, working a job I loved, and living happily ever after. June 2011, a husband and kids were not a part of my near future. "I had places to go and people to see!" That was until I met Steven Eric Belk Wilson.
It was not love at first sight for me. It was love at first kiss.
Earlier that June day, I worked my shift then I met my granny and younger brother with his friend to head towards US 98. I drove my convertible mustang with the top down on the way there. I had taken my pain pill for the drive. (I bought pain pills in bulk for my daily function. I referred to them as my happy pills). When I was under the influence of my happy pills which was usually all day long from the moment I woke until bedtime I had no anxiety.) I did not like when my mind became consumed with negative thoughts, memories, or depression. I was still sad about my break-up with my first love Brett. Two months prior we had broken up for the hundredth time. This time I knew it was permanent. We had different goals and vision for our future. He hated that I partied and a lot I kept hidden from him (the drugs). He wanted to get married and settle down on a piece of property his family owned... in our hometown. I did not want to live in Verbena, Alabama, marry and have kids at twenty-two. Truthfully, I did not want to settle down... with him. We loved hard. We fought hard. We were young and it was love for what I knew love to be at that time. It was the young love. A part of me always assumed we would eventually marry and have kids after he let me grow-up and do my own thing. I am so happy for the detour. Now that I am older and much wiser it would have never worked out and we hung on for years because we did not know any better. I am thankful for the memories and the 'young love' we shared. Brett helped carry me through some very challenging times in my life and without knowing it...had a firsthand experience of my lack of self-love, self-respect, and addiction.
As I drove into Casablanca Resort, I noticed a cute tall guy standing on the balcony. My mama came out to greet us. The next day, the cute guy approached me and mama on the beach; we were modeling and asked if we wanted him to take the picture. My mama had already met Eric because she had been there a few days before I arrived. Actually, Eric and my mama's friend became very "acquainted" with each other. Later on, Eric asked if I wanted a drink. I told him yes, but I could not drink in front of my granny. So, he concealed a strong vodka drink in a water bottle for me. We talked and before I knew it, we were swimming in the ocean together having a great time. My mama made the comment, "Hope you are getting really friendly with him." All I thought was..."this is the man I am going to marry." I knew it instantly. He had all the qualities I was looking for back then. He lived in the city, had a country accent, partied, and accepted me for all my quirks, had a good job, played the drums, and was extremely charming. He was fun! and I loved it. He met me in the mornings when I smoked my cigarettes with my coffee. We talked effortlessly. He was like a new adventure for me. The night I finally let him kiss me, the chemistry between us was on fire. It was the best kiss I had ever had. We just clicked. I did not know what the future held. All I did know was I had fallen madly in love with a guy I met at the beach. It was unexpected and his love nurtured my heart and made me feel like I was beautiful. He admired that I had my own style and my own bullheadedness. He loved that I made no apologies for being exactly who I was with my blonde moments and all. One late evening, he handed me a marijuana pipe that I tried to smoke backwards. We have laughed about it for years! I guess, that is the moment he knew! This girl is one of a kind and I am going to make her my wife. haha.