����������� I watched as the bushes began slowly turning from dark green into soft, velvety white.� The neighbor's roof went from delicious-looking chocolatey-brown to enticing crystals of pure-white sugar. Yes, I was definitely intrigued.
����������� For some reason, the snow made me feel less lonely, despite the fact that I was all alone in a great big three-storied, beautifully furnished, exquisitely decorated mansion.� The snow made me remember when times were simpler, when I was simpler.� Suddenly I felt as if my body were no longer sitting in the soft-as-silk comfortable red chair.� Suddenly, I felt the hard back of a dining room chair.
����������� I looked around at all the faces.� There was Jack - excuse me, Mr. Silverson - sitting at the head of the table, because of course, he was the head of the household.� Beside him and across from me was Mrs. Silverson, his beautiful Southern belle wife.� Next to her was Amanda the prim and proper, perfect daughter, sipping her soup like a very refined lady.� Across from Mr. Silverson was little Jack Junior, dressed in his finest clothes, and looking like he couldn't wait to get out of them.
����������� And finally, there was Eddie, right next to me - he was the most down-to-earth person in his whole rich family.� As for me, I was at the opposite end of the spectrum - dirt poor.
����������� I wrung my hands under the table silently, looking down at my old yellow cotton dress, then looking up and catching Eddie's eye.� He was so handsome back then; his eyes...they were irresistible.� So kind, so sweet, filled with such pure intentions.
����������� Back then we were just kids - I can't deny that I was in love with him even then, when he was sixteen and I only fourteen.� It was true we came from two separate worlds.� When we were together though, none of that stuff mattered.� It was like the world disappeared every time we were alone.
����������� "Eddie?" I'd say when we sat on his back porch looking up at the stars, Eddie holding my hand as I curled up in his embracing arms.
����������� "Do you love me?"
����������� "Of course I do Addie!"
����������� "How much?" I'd ask, just wanting to hear him say it.
����������� "My love for you is bigger than the sun."
����������� "Well I love you more than the moon."
����������� We'd stay like that for hours, just basking in the light of each other's presence.� There was no one I would rather have spent time with.� When I was at school, I thought of him.� When I was at home in our dingy old house with brown shutters, my mind drifted to Eddie.� When I sat knitting, I'd see a picture of him in my mind.
����������� Every Friday night, it was tradition that I have dinner at Eddie's house.� My parents, despite their pride, were happy about it - I think they wanted me to marry Eddie just so I could be the one to break the cycle of destitution.� Instead of hoping I'd go to college, Mama and Daddy simply hoped I would marry Eddie.
����������� Anyway, those dinners were always awkward.� I always imagined I was Cinderella and Eddie was my prince charming.� His family was the step-mother and the mean hateful step-sisters.� The only difference was, his family wasn't mean...openly that is. Oh I'm sure they all talked about me behind my back - I can imagine Eddie's parents begging him to find a girlfriend of his own class.� But, being cultured and refined Southerners, no one said anything about the subject to my face - especially not Mr. Silverson himself.
����������� He'd always ask me things like "How is school Adeline?" or "How is your family?" in that sweet drawl of his.
����������� "Everything is fine, sir," I'd reply meekly, not wanting to chat.
����������� "Well I am glad to hear that," he'd say.� And that was the extent of any small talk
at those Friday night dinners.
����������� As I said before those dinners were uncomfortable - very uncomfortable.� It was the '40's then and everything was different.� Etiquette was held in very high regards.� Uncomfortable as it may have been, that was the way it had to be.� The only reason I suffered through those dinners was Eddie; it was because I loved him so much.
����������� Eddie and I did end up getting married.� I never made it to college, but I waited for him to finish.� He went off to Yale because his daddy wouldn't except anything less.� Then in 1953, a few years after he had returned home and started working at the family law firm, we got married.� We had a huge wedding at St. Mary's chapel in Virginia - if we'd had it my way it would've been small with twenty people instead of 500.� Again, I sacrificed my wants for Eddie.�
����������� Our honeymoon was the first time we ever made love.� I had insisted, and Eddie agreed, that we save ourselves for each other.� That promise was worth it - it made the first experience a million times better.
����������� When he caressed me, kissing my lips and slowly my neck, my shoulders, all the way down, it felt so pure.� It was the uniting of two into one.� It wasn't just some fling.� We were truly making love, a love that had blossomed for over a decade.
����������� Once we got married, Eddie and I were hoping, praying, that kids would naturally follow.� We tried, over and over, but without success.� Eventually I went to the doctor and I was informed the worst news of my life: I was barren.
����������� The day I found out, I cried for hours, lamenting over what I could never have.� And Eddie, as always, was right there to comfort me.� To hold me close and warm, and to whisper soothing words into my ear: "Addie, it's all right.� Everything's going to be okay. If we can't have our own kids we'll just adopt."� I smiled through my tears. Adoption, what a wonderful thing, I thought.
����������� We planned on adopting the following March, the month of our one year anniversary, but by then, it was too late.
����������� That winter, Eddie had gotten what he thought was a cold.� He had this horrible hacking cough that came along with it, so I finally convinced him to go see the doctor.� He told us it was pneumonia, that it was serious, but that in a few weeks Eddie would be fine.� Eddie wasn't fine.� He just got worse.� Instead of just a hacking cough, Eddie started coughing up blood.� It got to the point where all he could do was lie there in bed with the sheets surrounding him.� He had no strength to get up.
����������� I knew what was happening and I desperately wanted to stop it.� I pleaded with God.� Lord, why?� He's so young!� He's the only man I've ever loved.� Why won't you let him stay with me?
����������� Despite my daily prayers, Eddie's condition only deteriorated.� The last day - I think Eddie knew it would be his last day on earth, I did too, like there was something in the air - that day, as I sat on the bed, Eddie pulled me close.
����������� "Addie," he gasped.� "Remember what we always used to say?"
����������� Of course I did, how could I forget?
����������� "Eddie," I said, tears rolling down my cheeks, "Do you love me?"
����������� "Of course I do."
����������� "How much?"
����������� "My love for you is bigger than the sun."
����������� �I bit my lip, and took a deep breath, trying to control my emotions.� "I love you more than the moon," I somehow choked out of myself.
����������� "Goodbye Adeline Silverson.� I'll see you in heaven," were his last words as he drifted off into eternal peace.
����������� After Eddie passed away, life became harder.� Harder is such an understatement.� There are no words to describe the pain I felt when I knew he was gone.� Every night as I dreamed of the past, I wanted to stay in this imaginary world forever and never wake up.
����������� The only thing that's kept me going is children.� The spring of 1954, instead of adopting, I decided to become a foster mother.� Eddie had always wanted children, so this was my way of honoring his life.
����������� As the decades passed, child after child came in and out of my life.� Each one has been a blessing.� As I've watched them grow from innocent kindergartners into teenagers reading to spread their wings, it's helped me remember.� I remember Eddie and how lucky I was to grow up with him.
����������� Now, I'm 76 and I'm still a foster mother.� I'm still filled with joy every time I wake them up in the morning and tuck them in to bed at night.
����������� Now I can't see the snow falling anymore - night has descended.� The children have come home from school and are waiting eagerly to eat. Now I truly am sitting in a dining room chair, only this time, it's my own.
Dinner is ready, but first we must pray as we always do.
����������� Angela, the youngest, all rosy cheeked and bright-eyed, begins the prayer.� "Dear God, we thank you for this food."
����������� "Please bless it to our bodies,"�Joey, looking handsome as Eddie,�continues.
����������� "We thank you for all our blessings," adds beautiful Jodie.
����������� "Especially for Miss Addie. Thank you for her love and care for each one of us," says shy Katherine.
����������� "And Lord, thank you for Eddie," I say, my voice filled with pathos.
����������� "Amen!" we all say together and I watch as my foster children pick up their forks and dig in to the meal.� I see contentment in these children, happiness, peace, everything a child deserves and everything Eddie would have wanted our children to have.
����������� Eddie, I pray silently, you were right. It is all right.� Everything did turn out okay. I hope you're looking down on us from heaven. I love you, more than the moon.
����������� And now, with Eddie still on my mind, I pick up my own fork, and join the children in a joyous feast.