The two met for the first time at the International Skydiving Jump held at Perris, the little California town known the world over as a skydiver's paradise. Ilsa was happily married to a C.P.A. in Boston. Rick's recently announced engagement to a rising Illinois female politician had wags referring to him as a future First Husband. But, at Perris, the two had instantly fallen in love. They had been aboard the first plane of jumpers, bumped into each other as they neared the open jump door, and each felt an inseparable bond with the other. Rick landed only a few feet from Ilsa, hurried to her side, and for the rest of the week-long event they were inseparable. He wined and dined her. She sucked in every word he spoke, and dreamed of a life with Rick.
Now, it was the last day of jumping, with each scheduled to depart for home that evening. The final jump found all the other jumpers holding hands in a circle, but Rick and Ilsa drifted off by themselves, locked in a tight clinch, knowing that when they separated and opened their chutes, their brief encounter would be over. That evening, as Ilsa prepared to board a plane at Los Angeles for the return flight to Boston, Rick kissed her for the last time. Realizing that she would never see him again, Ilsa wondered aloud: "What about us, Rick? What about us?" He kissed her one last time, and replied:
"We'll always have Perris."