Long-distance love | Opinion | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Long-distance love

Saying goodbye to Halifax, for now.

Long-distance love
Mark Maryanovich
Tanya Davis is a poet and performer who loves Halifax and had to leave for awhile. She is currently in Montréal working on a manuscript and wondering what’s next.

Halifax is my partner and we are having an open relationship, and also a long-distance one. So, we have odds stacked against us. But such is love.

I moved in when I was a tiny child, wide-eyed. I wanted to be an artist and Halifax said, “Come.” They said, “There is music here beside the ocean, plus the music of the ocean, not to mention berries.” I was curious if Halifax was home to open minds as well. I leapt and landed in a house full of strangers, from where I would begin my adventures as new kid on the block, new fish in the pond, blue-ish and timid but curious of what would come. I was a moody lover then, or else I always am, but Halifax didn’t mind. They urged me to get up early, embrace the mornings, when the fog was burning off and the salt air was spacious and charged.

I learned that Halifax, with all its maritime charisma, can also be pompous. For instance, they shoot fake cannons every day at lunchtime, whether or not we need it. And, let’s be honest, who does? There are other ways to tell us of the time—bells, for instance, clocks, less aggressive noises that don’t scare birds off. But Halifax likes to play war even though peace is what we’re after. They have toy statues glorifying racist invaders and they keep them in plain sight, so we can’t un-see them. Halifax has mediocre fashion, too, which I can look past except when it blocks my view. They replace heirlooms with convenience, trade vintage for overstated glass and drudging tones of grey.

Still, I fell in love, bartering faults for fancy. It was easy. When they whispered of the water in the forest, I thought it sounded like a story. And it was, but I was in it. They said I could be whoever I wanted. They took me to parties where people danced so dirty I thought I was Baby escaping the corner. They flirted, incessantly, with that small-town charm, fed me colourful vegetables straight from the fields; they held my hand at the top of the hill while we watched the horizon ongoing.

But then there was a storm and I lost all of my power. Halifax tried to make me feel better. There was the soothing of the ever-changing ocean; there were the familial feelings and the comfort of the eastern sun. But I had an intuition of the upsets and the wonders of a courtship still to come. I told them I had to go, for now; I cried, they held me. Before I left we professed our love and toasted the function of change. We went to the beach, the jazz festival, the market. We lingered long over Java Blend coffee and we had many last suppers. I told Halifax I’d pine from Montréal, where I would practice my French and write words enough to one day fuel a returning train.

Like any leap taken, this one leaves me lonely, uncertain. I am checking Halifax’s newsfeed too often, liking all the pictures. I want them to visit, and I want to come home, not yet, but when it’s time. Until then, I’ll do what I can to keep a long-distance, deep-reaching romance alive.


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