Yesterday, I asked readers to send me two sentences describing the most significant day in one of their relationships. I said that my favorite entries would receive passes to see the movie "One Day," which comes out tomorrow (the 19th) and is based on a very good Love Letters-ish book.
I received a few hundred entries for this contest, and they were all wonderful. The first 25 below were the ones that punched me in the gut. The writers who submitted them will be hearing from me soon. The Globe's books editor, who is awesome, helped me sort through the entries to choose five big winners (in bold), who will get extra prizes.
If you didn't win, please don't be offended. I loved all of the sentences so much. Really.
And ... very cool that our most important "one days" span three decades. I put them in order for our reading pleasure.
I took a bus from Seattle to Newport, Oregon to meet up with a guy I met one time playing bridge in Long Beach, CA. The weekend turned into 9 days with him and his friend; I ended up marrying the friend and having two children with him.
We were eating Chinese Food watching MTV (brand new TV channel). He got down on his knee and proposed with a fortune cookie.
I was 17 years old and in stilettos at a high school football game in November. I took off my shoes and stood on the cold ground to demonstrate to my now husband of 23 years that he wasn't too short for me.
His break-up note was full of mean, hateful things about me and a caution about revealing any of the letter's contents to our mutual friends. I felt only slightly better when I learned a few years later he was gay.
He knocked on my bedroom window at 2 a.m. and asked if he could come in. It was the first time he told me he felt unsafe at home because of his father.
As I was waiting in the stands for my race at our high school track meet, I remember seeing her for the first time. I never thought it possible, but it was at that moment when love at first sight punched me in the gut as I said to myself, I'm going to spend the rest of my life with her.
For a long time she didn't answer the question, concentrating on her science notebook. Finally she brushed the hair from her face and said, "If I were going to like anybody, I think, um, it would be a girl."
I told him I was pregnant and I was having his baby. He told me he didn't want it and to take care of it.
He kissed me and said, "I always wanted to do that." I ended our friendship of 4 years knowing his girlfriend was in the car waiting for him to take her home.
He wanted me to meet his parents. They had passed away years before so we went to the cemetery.
While driving over the Tobin on a gorgeous fall night, she looked over and said, "If I forget to tell you later ... I had a great time tonight" (If she only knew). While we walked alongside Quincy Market, I knelt before a granite bench, took a ring from my pocket and promised her I would love her forever.
I got off the plane and he was waiting for me. I said no.
Doctors saved my life. He was the first person I asked for right after they did.
We were standing on the train platform in Switzerland after three months apart. As the train whistle reminded us it was time to leave, he pulled me tight and whispered those three words every girl wants to hear from the man she's loved from the moment they met in 2005.
He swore he didn't leave me for another woman, and that he just needed space. The day after he moved out I saw her car in his driveway.
The church door smacked my white-clad [behind] as I made my entrance. It was as if even God was saying, "It's about time you two tied the knot - now get moving."
He proposed on the dog-pee bench at Comm and Exeter. I said yes!
On Tuesday, he told me that after three years it just wasn't working anymore. On Wednesday, he announced his engagement -- to someone else.
When I picked him up for a Valentine's Day date, he was already drunk. We were asked to leave the restaurant in the middle of dinner and I told him I was leaving him the next day.
I told her I wasn't looking for a wife. Then she dove on top of me.
One evening, he accused me of having a crush on him. We spent the next two hours sitting pensively on a garbage can in City Hall Plaza, trying to figure out what to do about it.
We lay in bed, wrapped in each other's arms with tears in our eyes and you said, "Never say never." I don't know what the future holds for us or if we'll find our way back to each other, but the moment I stood up I knew a light within me had gone out.
I routinely picked him up from work each day but on that day, the day before my birthday, he wasn't answering his work phone so I went home. When I got there, he was sitting at the dining room table and the apartment was empty.
My husband called me on his way home from work and told me he was sick of the rat race and moving to a less expensive state. As his wife I have the choice; I am with him on the move or he is going without me.
I was sitting at Friendly's with boyfriend of three years and his two little girls when they realized that the contest on the kids placemat in front of them had a grand prize of a trip to Disney World for a family of four. "Hey," the six year old said, "WE are a family of four!"
Some of the runner ups:
On bended knee, he proposed marriage at the Cracked Conch Cafe. Then he slipped an empty creamer (with hole through) on my finger and said "let's find the sapphire that's as blue as your eyes"
While sitting on a small, secluded beach in Hawaii, a huge tidal wave swept over us and my boyfriend's (now husband) first reaction was to reach out and grab my hand to make sure i didn't get smashed to smithereens against the rocks. That's when I knew for sure he was the one.
I pulled into the parking lot at 3am where he stood next to his broken down car and he smiled. I knew our first date wasn't supposed to end so early.
We were beer pong partners at a party in college. We won the game and he turned and gave me a kiss - it all changed from there!
I said to her, "I just don't want to be alone anymore." She responded, "You don't have to worry about being alone anymore."
On an unusually cold Thursday night in November, Seal was playing at a very small venue. He surprised me with last minute tickets and as we were standing right in the front, he unexpectedly grabbed me and pulled me very close to dance as chills ran down my spine.
We were freshmen in college, eighteen years old and carefree, and I had food poisoning. When he carried me from the bathroom to the bed and put the cool washcloth on my forehead, I knew he was the one.
He emailed me saying he couldn’t talk because he had been kicked in the throat and he would call when he got his voice back. A week later I called him on my friend’s phone and he said “Hello?”
We were standing on top of Mt. Etna, a live volcano in Sicily admiring the views. He then dropped down on one knee and proposed, I said yes.
At 5am, after walking the streets of Boston on my last night in town, I found the courage to ask him if he loved me. He turned to me and said “I love you in a way that I don’t to expect to ever feel again.”
I was in Connecticut visiting friends when I was in a near fatal car accident and air lifted to the ICU. My now husband drove down from Boston within hours and didn't leave my side for the three weeks I was in the hospital.
My husband got recalled into the Army, sent to North Carolina, and was deploying to Afghanistan in 3 days. He went AWOL and flew up to surprise me for 20 hours on our 5th anniversary.
I told him that I didn't know if I would ever--or was even capable of--feeling for him what he felt for me. He looked at me with those warm, loving eyes and told me, "That's okay, what you give me is enough."
We were in Florence and he had me read a letter he wrote to me 3 years before when he traveled to Italy with his family that said he couldn't wait to go there with me. Then he got down on his knee in our private courtyard and asked me to marry him.
The first time we made love was in his parents' basement. The candles set off the smoke detectors and woke up the whole house.
I was frustrated and embarrassed because my landlord did not plant flowers, make the yard look nice as promised. We were doing long distance at time and that weekend he surprised with an entire trunk full of flowers, gardening tools and a shovel to plant me a garden.
He surprised me with a sunset gondola cruise in the Charles River where he proposed with a message in a bottle. Two years later, on the banks of that same river, we pledged our lives to each other.
He went to bed upset and I stayed up for about an hour. When I got tired, I went to his bedroom door and it was locked
I sat down next to someone at my first day of orientation. since then, she's been the center of my life.
After graduation it was time to travel and live somewhere new; people would ask "Where to?" and he liked that there was no real answer. In August, he took my hand and my fears, and we jumped in his beat-up Corolla, and destination unknown at the time, drove until we found a new beginning together in Seattle.
After being delayed, I got on a plane to fly home from business trip. Got seated next to a random stranger, decided to chat her up, and now we're married.
“Yes,” was my response to his question as to whether or not I was still awake, even though I was more than halfway asleep. “I think I’m in love with you,” he whispered.
The first time I met his mom we all went and picked strawberries in the morning and then made strawberry jam that afternoon. He told me he loved me for the first time that night.
I walked into his house one Tuesday night after work; saw this gorgeous man in a suit standing in the kitchen making us dinner and he said to me "I really love coming home to you". In that moment, I realized that I had found him ("The One") and wanted nothing more but to come home to him every day.
I met him at the end of the aisle, my heart full to bursting, trying not to cry. We said our vows (I didn't forget the words!), listened to the priest, and spent the rest of the day smiling and kissing.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.