It began 12 years ago.A good friend of mine from childhood introduced us at a club.She invited me along, intending to set me up with one of her other friends.But there was no denying our chemistry, no matter how much my friend was championing this other fellow.


He was a friend of hers, too.Dangerous, she called him, knowing how innocent I was at the time.Another friend, who also knew him, agreed.Too much of a player, a bad boy, someone you couldnít ďtameĒ.


We ended up talking on the phone every day, for hours at a time, at least for the first few weeks after meeting.He, an IT manager, was beginning his career as a hatchet man.Bad reputation all around.His candor, basically confirming the opinion of my friends, was a bit frightening.Yet, I saw something in him.I was intrigued.


We went out on a few dates, and for Valentineís Day, I went over to his house.We had made each other homemade gifts.In the midst of getting closer, I chickened out.I chose poorly, hearing my friendsí words instead of seeing his actions.I have come to regret that decision dearly.


I was forgiven, eventually, and we became close friends.Over the ensuing years, we have been with each other through boyfriends and girlfriends, through heartbreak and triumph, through bad hairstyles and poor clothing choices JHeís seen me through some of my darkest days Ė Iíve been there to pick him up when he couldnít do it himself.Heís been my rock, and I like to think Iíve been one of his.


He is one of my closest friends, my best confidantes, and the person who has saved me from myself more times than I can count.Always honest, at times brutally so, but never once has he deceived.And he made me realize that of the many times I have thought myself in love, I am only easily infatuated.I have rarely been in love, perhaps only one other time in my life.


My friend, who has shown me much love over the years, has taught me so much about love and its many forms, its many hazards.And I have learned and realized that the friend that I have come to rely upon so heavily, who has filled the role of partner and husband better than any that Iíve ever had Ė that I have fallen in love with him.


There are no labels for what we are to each other.And though the road ahead for us is filled with many obstacles, I know in my heart, now that I recognize the emotion, I know that I will love him forever.I only hope that I can show him all the love that he has shown me.And I hope that somehow, no matter what happens now, we will always be in each othersí lives.


Timing has always dogged us.And so, once again, timing is not on our side.Sadly, for now, that ship has sailed.However, it comes into port periodically J And when the chance comes around again, I will be ready.Iím ready for love.


Thatís my love story.