Pacific Moonrise was the perfect gift to buy for myself after my friend, Sue Evans passed away. There are some people you meet who have such an amazing impact on your life they deserve to be referred to by first and last name; Sue Evans was one of them.
We met by chance, but it wasn’t an accident. It was one of those moments where the coincidence was too great to be ignored; a moment when the Divine seemed to remove the cloak and say, “Yeah, I’m here and nothing will ever be the same again.”
This is a story that could fill several books, but I’ll give you the Readers Digest version…
I’d been looking for a house in the Uptown section of Minneapolis. Apartments were easy to find in that neighborhood, but houses… not so much. When I spotted an ad for an open house the following weekend, I called the owner to ask if I could see it before then, as I was headed to Chicago on Friday. She agreed and I met her that very evening.
I liked her instantly, as if she’d been my older sister in a different life. We got to talking and I asked what she did for a living. She was a therapist. When I mentioned that one of my closest friends was also a psychologist, Sue Evans asked for her name. When I told her, she looked at me and said, “That’s my business partner. I’ve known her for more than 30 years.” She laughed when I asked if an additional reference would be necessary. That laugh, a husky huh, huh that I’ll never forget.
I ended up renting the house from her, and because she lived within walking distance, we became great friends. About four months after we met, another close friend of hers (Bobbie) flew in from Mexico for a visit. One night, in early February, we were all drinking wine and Bobbie said Sue Evans had a “thing” for whales. I laughed, not knowing there were people with such random interests.
Bobbie owned a home in Mexico, on seven miles of unadulterated beach. The property also had four casitas, a swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen and a rooftop palapa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We were welcome to come and stay for free, and oh… whale season was upon us. About three glasses of Chardonnay later, Sue Evans and I were booking flights to the Baja for the end of the month.
After we arrived and settled in, Bobbie told us she’d secured a whale-watching trip for the following day. We got up at sunrise and picked up another friend named Azul who was, without question, the prettiest human being I’ve ever seen. I mention this because I’d overslept. Being late meant I wasn’t wearing any make-up (which, as a blond, basically erases my features), my hair was in a messy bun, I was 20 pounds overweight and my clothes made me look homeless.
By contrast, Azul was half my age and a petite yoga instructor from Brazil, who had long black hair, huge green eyes and was wearing an outfit that honestly made me question my heterosexuality.
As an avid photographer, I began taking pictures when we got out of the car. It was a beautiful morning, the water in the cove was calm, seagulls flew overhead, 15 boats (each with a captain a handful of passengers) were lined up on the shore and that naturally gorgeous young woman was the picture of joy and love; all images calling for my attention.
I was snapping away, when Sue Evans called me over. “This one’s ours,” she said. Having grown up around boats, I absentmindedly climbed aboard, picked a spot and started scrolling through the pictures. Then… I heard it; the voice of an Englishman. The depth of his tone, resonated in “places,” that VERY much confirmed my romantic gender preferences.
Do you ever take a moment to NOT look at something because you know the minute you do; your life will change forever? NO? Until that time, I hadn’t either. I took a breath and then locked eyes with him. It was complete and instant love. We’d been married in a different life and we would be married in this one too.
He smiled at me and that was it. My heart was his. I’d been single for eleven years (talk about a dry spell!) and I’d never known real love before that. My parents used to say, “You’ll know your soulmate the instant you see their eyes.” I didn’t think lightening could strike twice in the same family. THEY got to have big love, I got other things. And yet there it was, there HE was. I didn’t know whether to giggle or cry with gratitude.
We spent about five hours on his boat that day and I never saw him look at the gorgeous girl seated next to me. Not even when she spoke directly to him. After the trip, he hugged each of the women and then came to me. He wrapped his arms around me and held me, then looked into my eyes and everything outside of the two of us disappeared. We kissed and every part of me knew he was the ONE.
As my friends and I walked to the car, I asked, “Did you see that?” Sue Evans responded with, “What… the kiss or the energy I’ve never seen between two people before?”
They came up with a plan to invite him over to enjoy the Dorado (fish) he’d caught, cleaned and given Bobbie as a token of his thanks. He accepted. After dinner, my future husband and I got a blanket and walked to the beach. Sitting side-by-side, we could see dolphins and whales playing beneath a full moon.
With no one else in sight we did more than just kiss that night, we consumed each other. Several times. We were married two months later and I have Sue Evans and a whale-watching trip to thank for that.
Two years later she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died shortly after.
Pacific Moonrise is a tribute to her. If she didn’t have a “thing” for whales, I never would have met my husband. It was a magical trip and she was a magical person. Thanks to Pitre, the best days of my life will return to me each time I look at Pacific Moonrise.
I forgot to mention how I found the painting… Sue Evans had it too.