As a romance writer, I’ve written over seventy-five love stories, from princesses and kings, to ranchers and busybodies, to demigods and bank greeters and all points in between. But funny thing, I’ve never written my own forty year old love story with my husband, Jose.
We met at Cornell University in 1982 at the International Living Center, heretofore known as the International Loving and Living Center. I was brand new, fresh off the turnpike from California and going from suite to suite introducing myself. “Hi, I’m Clare from California (Rachelle is my penname),” I’d chirp. “I’m so glad to meet you and experience the East Coast.” Never mind that Cornell, in Ithaca New York is in the Fingers Lake region and not East Coast. To me, anything west of Arizona was East Coast. I had most recently lived in San Diego, at the time known as America’s Finest City or Sandy Eggo. All my friends thought I was looney-tunes wanting to leave but I told them I wanted to see what life was like outside of this most southwestern corner of the United States. I mean, if Maine is the head of the beast and Florida the front leg, Texas the back leg, then what exactly is the southernmost corner of our country? At least it’s not Hawaii, LOL.
My future husband was sitting in his dorm room contemplating his future when one of his suitemates said, “Hey, meet Clare from California.” I kid you not. I never have inklings but I had a strong sense of, “What if this is my future husband?” run through my heart. Of course, I didn’t say anything and later one, he thought I was too happy and too chirpy. He’s a native New Yorker.
Fast forward to spring time skiing. I hadn’t seen Jose around and he didn’t see me, but on my first run down Greek Peak on a beautiful, sunny day, I skidded to a stop on top of a ridge to admire the view. The next thing I heard was a man screaming, “Ahhhhh!” and then my right leg crumpled. This wild skier literally tripped over my ski boot and fell face forward over his skis. His first reaction was to get up and ask me how I was doing. I was actually numb or in pain, I don’t know which, but he had a bleeding cut on his forehead from hitting his ski.
The ski patrol was called and the man and his buddies followed down to the medical center where the biggest strongest ski patrol guy pried my boot off my injured leg [as painlessly as possible].
If this was a romance, the man who cut his forehead would be Jose, or even the strong ski patrol guy, but nope, I never saw them again, although the cut forehead guy did come by to apologize as I lay there waiting for my friends to drive me to the hospital.
Instead, Jose had stayed back in the dorm over spring break to STUDY! Get this, I stayed to ski; he stayed to study. So here I was, a day later, sitting in the TV lounge with my crutches and leg in a cast watching daytime soap operas. Jose walks by probably with a stack of books in his hand and says, “What happened to you?”
From then on, he carried my books, walked me to the dining hall, and bussed my trays. And that’s how a real life love story started. Not quite a cute meet but a sweet one just the same.
How about you? Please share one of your real life love stories. Tell your children or a friend this Valentine’s Day and give your honey an extra kiss for being your real life Valentine.
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Hugs and Kisses and have very Happy Valentine’s Day, Rachelle
Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.