I've met a lot of people on LJ that I wouldn't have met otherwise, but there's one person in particular that stands out in my mind.
I first saw masterofmusings on tech email lists probably around 2003. I saw his name, saw his posts, and had a lot of respect for this guy who didn't hesitate to say what he thought even when his view wasn't very popular. We sent the very rare off-list email; I wrote him about a caller ID question that he had, he responded. He took over list moderation of a very large list. I wrote him to say that I was happy he'd taken the moderation because I'd seen his moderation on a previous list and liked his way of handling things. When I got my Bookport, he gave me a great suggestion on rechargeable batteries.
Then, in the summer of 2006 I received a message from Live Journal informing me that "cokedrinker" (I believe that was it, but maybe it had an underline), had added me to his friends list. I was pretty much blown away. I just couldn't believe that this guy, who I felt was respected by many, found me interesting enough to want to read my blatherings and stuff. I added him back. A few months later he changed his username to "Brucetola", and I really liked that one.
For the next year, I read his entries and felt as though I'd been drawn into his life. I saw a man with an incredible sense of humor, but who also had a different side; a side that I never would have gotten to see on a mailing list. I was hesitant to leave comments, especially after one day when I said something and thought that I'd upset him with a comment that I'd left. There were just some entries though that I felt I absolutely had to comment on, so I did. Through his entries, I saw a man who expressed himself well, and who wasn't afraid to talk about how he was feeling even if those feelings weren't things that most guys would admit to. I truly admired him for that because it had to take a lot of guts to be different.
Then, last year, he posted an entry about wanting to learn how to set up custom friends groups. I'd been doing that practically since I started on LJ, so I offered to help him, but I requested that he add me to Windows Live Messenger if he wanted the help. I didn't want to do anything without him making the first contact because I just still couldn't believe that this guy thought anything more of me than a casual reader-type person. He added me, and we started chatting very occasionally on Messenger. This was about June of 2007, and in July, two big things were happening for me. A, the anual ACB (American Council of the Blind Convention, and the final Harry Potter book was being released. Both of these things were big to me. During the convention, I got to see first-hand the brand new, yet-to-be-released product, the Victor Reader Stream. I knew from Bruce's Messenger tag that he was also interested, so pretty much immediately after getting to play with it I messaged him and told him all about it. I thought it was neat that I was able to give him information that he would find interesting. Weird maybe, but that's just how I felt. Harry Potter was another thing entirely. I'm still trying to convince Bruce that he should give the books a try, but it hasn't happened yet. But, there was something happening that day with him, and for the life of me I don't remember what it was. But, he said that he would have messaged me and chose not to because he didn't think I'd want to talk to him because I was reading Harry.
August 5 marked the day we first talked through voice. I was terrified, and apparently he was too, but what we thought would be a ten minute conversation turned into something just under 6 hours. I was so impressed by this person!!!! He was someone that I truly could call a friend now because we'd connected, and I was excited about the prospect of getting to know him even better. Being in two different countries pretty much insured that we'd never meet in person, (or so I assumed), but he was someone I could talk to, someone I felt extremely comfortable with.
A week later I went into the hospital and nobody knew what was wrong with me. We talked for a few hours before I went, and he told me a really wacky story about being from the 27th century and coming back to this century. He was making it up as he went along, but his goal at that point was keeping me focused, and it worked. He took the next day off from work so that he could be with me in the hospital, over the phone. I can't even begin to express how much that meant to me; this person that I knew, yet in so many ways didn't know, and yet it was obvious to me how much he cared, and how concerned he was for me. When I had to go for tests I kept thinking about him and I wanted to get back to my room so that we could talk.
After being released I wondered if I'd made a mistake by going home alone since they still had no idea what was wrong with me. Through those first days at home though, Bruce's patience and support made such a difference to me. I still just found it so amazing that he stuck by me, and I really didn't understand it.
It only seems logical to me that this kind of thing brought us closer. There was something about the whole hospital thing that created an incredible bond between us. But we were both starting to feel more for each other than friendship, and we were fighting it. The timing just wasn't right. I guess though that timing just doesn't play into things much though in certain situations. Something happened that made us realize that we needed to talk openly about how we were feeling. It wasn't an easy conversation because we knew how we were feeling, but we were afraid that the other person wouldn't feel the same. I was afraid of losing an incredible friend.
Well, as it turned out, we had nothing to worry about, and we got everything out in the open. I suppose the rest is history. It's been a long road, and it definitely hasn't always been easy, and just before we met in person for the first time last November I think we both wondered if we'd lost our minds. But, that first meeting showed us a lot, and I am so glad that we took that first step.
If it hadn't have been for Live Journal, I don't think that Bruce and I would have ever been anything more than casual emailers. It's hard to believe that all of this started a little over ten months ago. And, if I had to do it over again I'd do it in a heartbeat. I've continued to get to know the most incredible, the most special, the most loving man on the planet, and every time I don't think I can love him any more, I do. So, thanks, LJ, for giving me this opportunity. It's changed my life.