A True Halifax Love Story - Jonathan Torrens
My family moved to Halifax from PEI when I was 12 to be closer to my ailing grandmother, who lived in Pictou County. It was equal parts daunting and exciting, so many possibilities but so many people.
There were a lot of firsts for me here. First time seeing someone who lived on the street. First time seeing a man in skirt and heels. First kiss.
First time taking a city bus, which I did every day of junior high from downtown, where we lived, out to Fairview Junior High (the only one in the city to offer French immersion back then). Before long it started to feel like home, and soon I was roaming around to all the Halifax teen haunts of the time, from “The Hill” at Gorsebrook in the south end to “The Pit” in the north end.
Work and curiosity took me away in my 20s, to even bigger, stranger places. Halifax felt a bit small for a while back then.
I remember the very day the things I used to find suffocating and limiting about Halifax suddenly becoming comforting and familiar again. When that gear kicked in, there was nowhere else I wanted to be.
As the cliché goes, it took going away to fully appreciate what we have here. In my particular case, I was living in Los Angeles, auditioning for Tori Spelling movies of the week and hosting shows like “House Busters,” in which a team of psychics, feng shui experts and interior designers gave your home a facelift after a devastating atrocity occurred in your home. Not kidding. That was a real show.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was my audition for a reality show called “America’s Cutest Puppy.” I’d driven the hour and a half in traffic from Venice to the Valley in the hopes of working on some reality show that sounded like a joke. Hard to decide which scenario would be more painful: actually booking it and having to show up for work, or not getting it because the puppy people went with someone else. It’s a strange mindset — wishing for the phone to ring and dreading it at the same time.
Luckily, I didn’t get that one. And many, many others.
What I did get was a phone call from my mom on the long, frustrating drive home. Through casual conversation, she mentioned she had a dentist appointment the next day and didn’t much like the thought of going alone.
In that moment I realized that “Guy Who Took His Mom to the Dentist” was a far more important role than any
I could ever play in Hollywood.
Seeing as I was also in a transition relationship-wise, the choice was easy. So I moved back and bought a row house on Church Street with otherwise no real plan.
It felt so good to be back, hiking at York Redoubt and swimming at Tea Lake. Taking the ferry on a nice summer’s day. Going to a patio on Argyle Street.
My friend Mike is a gifted photographer and carpenter who helped me renovate my new place. It had essentially been a rooming house for students and needed some TLC. It turns out I might have needed some at the time, too. We spent months fixing it up, and I loved every minute of it.
Every week or two my manager would call from L.A. to say I needed to have new headshots taken. Seeing as I didn’t know what my long-term goal was, I kept putting it off. The timing just didn’t feel right. Plus, I wasn’t sure I was ever going back. At that point I was seriously entertaining the thought of being a realtor.
Finally, as the house was getting close to finished and both Mike and I were proud of our work, he suggested we should take some headshots in this beautiful new space we’d created.
His friend Carole had even taken a makeup course recently, and he could ask her if she’d help out. I reluctantly agreed.
The day arrived. Carole knocked on the door, and the moment I opened it and met her gaze all I could think was, “There you are … I have so much to tell you.”
That timing felt exactly right.
We’ve been married for seven years and have two sweet little girls. Every second of every day has been total joy.
I’ll always love you, Halifax, for bringing me up, letting me go, welcoming me back and for leading me to the love of my life.