Cupid doesn't always aim true. But he usually hits something. Herewith, an anthology of first moments:

I told her she was lying, deceitful and manipulative, withholding critical information to see if the danger of having to be honest would pass without her having to give anything away, and I told her a lot of other things.

"I'm not going to see you anymore," she responded.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because of the things you just said to me."

"I apologize for saying those things."

"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow, then."

I knew then that it was more than likely true love, and my heart sank.

-- Robert H. Williams Six years ago, I drove into deepest Virginia on a painfully cold, shiny-wet, bitter-black November night to meet his plane. He was flying in from Cheyenne. As I approached the airport, a car cut in front of me. The Maryland vanity tag read: RISK. This is really true.

And then when I saw my sweetheart, his hair and his beard and his eyeglasses and his suede cowboy boots misted with drizzle, and he smiled at me, smiled so big and warm that you almost couldn't see his blue eyes -- I knew. I just knew. -- Gigi Anders Her mom found it while cleaning the attic, gave it to her. She tossed it in the car where, rummaging in the clutter, I happened on it, clutched it to my cheek, sputtering in astonishment, "What is this -- Perry Pup?!"

It was. She'd had one too. She watched me for a while, said, "Yes, it's 'Perry Pup.' Your first love." -- Phil McCombs After hearing my tirade on how all the good ones are married or cads, he picked up his plate, held it over his head and smiled. And what an angel he was. -- Dana Thomas She had a jacket and was warm. I didn't, and I was shivering. She wordlessly put her arm around me. That was my first clue. On Valentine's Day we got engaged. -- Thomas Oliver The instant I saw him I was a goner. Maybe it was the way he effortlessly mingled at the party, or his slight swagger, or the way he scratched his ear while looking quizzically around the room. Maybe it was because he was hopelessly adorable.

I knew he was just what I had been looking for, and our friends who had invited him in said he was unattached.

A few weeks later I brought him home.

He was one heck of a fine cat, my fuzzy little valentine. -- Rose Jacobius The year was 1971. The movie was "Airport." We were 16.

I stared hard at the screen. "I get it," I whispered, finally. "That guy bought all that insurance and now he's committing suicide by carrying the bomb."

He gave me a look of frank admiration. "My sister never figured that out," he said.

I was smitten.

-- Elizabeth Dahlslien We were both night cooks at a trendy Cambridge restaurant during the worst winter New England had seen in a long time. I think he discovered it was true love in the middle of a huge blizzard. Buses weren't running. Phone lines were down. Through the drifts and flurries, he trekked from his Back Bay apartment all the way to Sommerville, easily an hour walk, just to see me.

It had hit me one night months before when we were both at work. He went to pick something up off the floor and his chef's jacket, unbuttoned at the top, gave way and revealed this small tattoo, maybe an inch high -- a small blue broken heart -- on his chest. How could anyone not fall forever-in-love with a guy with an eternal broken heart?

-- Jody Berger After two weeks she told me I should go away. We weren't right for each other.

Three days later she called me at 4 in the morning and said she needed company.

When I got there she told me to go away again.

Next day it was, "Could we have dinner?"

Afterward it was, "You better get out of my life."

Next night it was a meeting at a bar, where she spent the whole time talking to her last boyfriend. Afterward I told her to go away.

Then I went to Panama. Two weeks in the jungle. That's when I knew.

We were married on New Year's. -- Michael Welzenbach