There is always the one person you truly loved once, but missed your chance with when it was there. Love in these situations comes at the most inopportune time, or is complicated by age, distance, or even best interests. It may not even be love, per se, but a strong feeling of care and attraction toward another that draws and binds you to a certain person.

In my case, this feeling of care and attraction came in the form of a 12 year old boy, eight years ago. We met when we first joined the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh at age 8, but it wasn't until we were 12 that we confessed our feelings for each other, which, before adolescence, are confusing and often misjudged.

But I never misjudged my feelings for him.

I cared for him and about him in a way I've never cared for another boy. It isn't (and wasn't ever)love, of this I am sure, although there has always been a mutual attraction. He has always been a best friend, but in a way no girl friend (at that time) could ever prove to be.

As an awkward 12 year old geek, it was very hard to show this boy how I felt. My friends and I all shared some strange attraction to him, although he more resembled Harry Potter (with a squeakier voice and much more acne) than Aaron Carter at the time we were close. And we were no experts at seduction, being strong, independent(but misguided) women in training. So how did we show our affection? By making him the constant punch line of our neverending joke, of course. We smacked him around in order to touch him without flirting, we tickled him, we teased him, and we teased each other if one of us spent more time with him than any other.

What I most loved about him, and what I remember to this day, was his passion for history. For as long as I've known him, he has been obsessed with the American Civil War, and even tried to start a re-enactment with his friends. He admired Robert E. Lee more than anything, and tried to strategize his way into a southern victory in his own mind. He was truly amazing.

He constantly whistled the entire 1812 Overture, complete with cannon fire sounds at the end. I found this amazing, but of course, didn't know how to admit to him how much it meant to me when he would whistle it. My way of telling him I cared was to say, "Shut up, Troy."

We were up to about 1,000 "shut up, Troys" before we parted ways in seventh grade. Somehow, I managed to tell him how I really felt, how much he meant to me, and to my astonishment, he felt the same way. We agreed on our emotions as well as the fact that a romantic relationship could not work, since he lives more than an hour away and at 12 years old, driving is not an option and rides from parents to a boyfriend/girlfriend over an hour away are scarce. We held each other, cried, and said goodbye.

The window of opportunity for us ever being anything more than friends had now been closed, and although we saw each other again once a week, 10 weeks in February for an older choir, the hint of whatever had previously been between us was gone. We have always had the same chemistry, but because we knew how we felt but that we had missed our chance, we let it go, and for some reason, that was good enough.

We hadn't spoken for three years due to changes in our respective lives, and time for old friends became scarce and then non-existent. I left for college, and last year he did the same. I thought of him in sorrow, remembering how close we were and how much I missed him, but couldn't find a way (or couldn't bring myself to find a way) to contact him again.

And tonight, completely out of the blue, he found me. He called my house and asked for me, so my mother gave him my cell phone number. I almost cried when the unfamiliar voice on the other end of the phone identified himself. My friends, knowing nothing about him, were desperate to know to whom I was speaking who made my face light up like a Christmas tree in a way even my boyfriend, being so far away, has yet to achieve.

I find it slightly ironic that so many years later, the main problem that hindered any non-platonic relationship between Troy and me does not keep me from loving someone over 3,000 miles away, more than 5 times as far as Troy and I were apart. But life is like that.

Troy and I will always remain friends. We made a bond long ago that cannot be broken, no matter how stretched it may be over the years. I asked him if he'd whistle the 1812 Overture for me the next time we get together, and this time, I promise I won't tell him to shut up.

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