COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At the young age of 23, Wyatt Kent knows he has experienced a love story for the ages. However, it was cut far too short.
Kent remembers one of the very last jokes he shared with his partner, Daniel Aston.
"We were sitting on the sofa and he said, 'Baby, I want a beagle,'" Kent laughed. “I said, 'Fine, under one condition. We have to name it Everything, so we have an Everything beagle.”
Kent's charisma was undeniable from the second he met with Denver7 outside of Club Q on Wednesday afternoon. The drag performer was dubbed the comedy queen of Colorado Springs while working at Club Q, where he first met Aston, who worked as a bartender at the club.
As Kent said, when you know, you know, and he knew from the moment he met Aston.
“I'm going to marry that man. It was, my gosh, you know, attraction immediately. But once we started talking, it was just this incredible friendship that blossomed even further," Kent gushed.
The two officially started their relationship in September, and it was nothing short of a fairytale romance between the two artists.
“He would often turn to me and say, 'You know, I tell you this often, but I've never felt this way about anyone else.' I would say just about the same thing to him. It was unreal. It was like a third-grader in love for the first time," Kent said. “It was just really powerful to be loved by someone who makes you feel things about yourself that no one else has made you feel, that you see a new form of beauty in yourself when you look in the mirror that you've never seen.”
The whole world was beautiful when Kent was with Aston. Aston felt like home.
Both Aston and Kent used poetry to express themselves, and often, the subjects of their poems were each other.
In addition to being a bartender at Club Q, Kent said Aston was an incredible karaoke performer and a drag king. Aston would always serenade Kent, even while just sitting on the couch together.
There were never any official marriage plans, but Kent believes Aston was his future.
"He was the other part of my soul that I was searching and searching and searching for," Kent said.
Between the heartfelt words and songs, the two fell deeply in love. When Kent's 23rd birthday rolled around on Nov. 19, Aston wanted to ensure his partner had the most special day.
The birthday celebration at Club Q included cake, along with strawberries and flowers backstage.
“And he said, you know, 'All of this is for you. All these strawberries and these roses. Did you see I left you a letter?' And he left me a letter that said, 'Do not open until after the show. I don't want them to make fun of me,' because he was a sap," Kent laughed.
Kent said he got a beer at the bar where Raymond Green was having a water, who was a childhood friend. Kent also knew Derrick Rump, another bartender at Club Q, and said Ashley Paugh had come to the nightclub to see his performance. Plus, Kent met Kelly Loving that night.
The birthday celebration turned into a senseless tragedy in a matter of moments.
“We heard gunfire, and we turn towards the door. And I can see the shadow of a man, a big man, with the shape of a man holding a big AR-style weapon," Kent remembered.
Kent said he hit the ground, and Loving fell on top of him as he tried desperately to call 911.
“I grabbed her (Loving's) hand and I said, 'Keep squeezing me baby, keep squeezing me.' She gave me a couple of good squeezes, but that was about it," said Kent.
Kent said Loving saved his life that night.
A 22-year-old suspect is in custody after five people were killed and 17 others were shot but survived a mass shooting at the LGBTQ+ club that night.
When Kent was outside of Club Q, he instantly called his mother and let her know he was physically OK. However, Kent did not know where Aston was, and Aston's phone continually went to voicemail.
“We waited all night... 11 hours of torment," Kent said about the time he waited to hear anything about what happened to Aston.
Around 11 a.m. the day after the shooting, Aston's father texted Kent saying Aston never left the scene.
"He died a hero," Kent said. "He saved our door girl's life, as we never doubted he would.”
Kent was only able to read the birthday card Aston wrote when police returned it to him, since it was inside of Club Q at the time of the shooting.
“Having a note that was written for you, by the person that you love the most, who was taken from you on that night is a heavy item to begin with," Kent said. “I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, or could read it. But the first time that I took in those words, it was like being shrouded in his love again.”
I was going to write you a poem, but I have hardly the words or the brain capacity. So here, I will write a letter.
First of all, I believe you can never have too many flowers. Especially not on your birthday. Especially not from your lover. You deserve much more in fact.
Also, you can never have too much attention or appreciation, especially for a drag queen. And especially not on her birthday. So, allow me to give some to you.
Every day, I am enamored by you. I know I've told you 100 times, but I've never felt this way about anyone. Ever since I've met you I've been short of breath. Now you're all I think about,
I love you so crazy much. I'm so happy you exist, and that today is a holiday for me too.
Kent said reading the letter was a huge step in his healing journey. What the future holds is still uncertain, to say the least, but he said he believes his birthday from now on will focus on remembering the love he was lucky to share with Aston.
Kent said he knows he will always carry memories of a love story that deserved a different ending, but also memories of the love that will live on forever.
“I remember, we went on a walk together, because we've had a little bit too much to drink. And we were trying to burn it off. And I stopped him and I kissed him," Kent said, telling one of his favorite stories about the two. "We both looked up at the sky at the same time and saw a shooting star. And for like, a straight month after that, that's all we talked about was how the universe was approving of what we had.”