For Tegan, falling for Skye meant coming to terms with their sexuality, despite their religious conservative upbringing, and coming out. But, love prevailed and they celebrated what they’ve built together with this playful photoshoot.
How did you meet?
T: I started working as a barista in an enchanting little used bookstore and cafe where Skyler was a regular. She came in one day, and something just drew me to her; I still remember what she was wearing. I leaned over the counter and introduced myself (something I typically never initiate). Once I got her name, I did what any millennial would do. I stalked her on Instagram and discovered, to my delight, that she was queer.
A quick fact about me, I was homeschooled and brought up in a very sheltered, religious home. I knew I was gay when I was 11, but I was still in the closet when I met Skye. I started dating one of the male regulars, but the relationship was toxic and only lasted a few weeks.
Over those weeks, Skye and I became very close and would call each other our “platonic soulmates.” One day near the end of the relationship with my ex, he realized how close Skye and I were and asked me if I had feelings for her. I said yes. To which he said it was either him or her in my life and that I should tell her how I felt.
I was terrified about coming to terms with my sexuality. So I sent Skye a long text confessing my feelings for her and saying that we could no longer be friends. She immediately called me, obviously upset. I put the phone on speaker and started hanging my laundry in an attempt to settle my nerves as she yelled at me for trying to cut her out over a boy. She wouldn’t admit it at first due to her being a loyal friend to my ex, but she had feelings for me too. I immediately ended things with my ex, and Skyler and I started dating not too long after that.
She officially asked me to be her partner by taking me to a picnic at my favourite abandoned hospital. Over the food, we initially bonded over- chow mein. And she had put a little note in the fortune cookie saying “will you be my partner,” and it’s been the best fortune I’ve ever gotten.
What is your favorite memory together?
I will never forget celebrating the first birthday as a couple, Skyler’s. I booked a little cabin through Airbnb just across the border in the tiny town of Point Roberts. Having planned the whole thing, and I was going to tell her that I loved her and she deserved the most well-thought-out presentation. I play piano but couldn’t bring a keyboard with me. So I prerecorded a video where I sang ‘How Would You Feel by Ed Sheeran.’ I collaborated with all of her closest friends and family and made short videos wishing her a happy birthday, and I had my song play at the very end.
When we first arrived, Skye waited in the car while I quickly set up with her favorite chocolates, flowers, and candles. Next, I lined the entrance and staircase with letters and poems I’d written about her not long after we first met. I used writing as an outlet because I was too afraid to tell her how I really felt. And at the end of the trail of letters sat a laptop with the birthday video, which we sat and watched, and she told me she loved me too. The days that followed were full of beach walks, coffee stops, and absolute bliss.
Covid has been challenging for your relationship, tell us about overcoming that financial stress.
Covid put a lot of financial strain on our relationship, as I’m sure it did for many others. Skye managed to keep one of her three jobs as a line cook at the local nerd bar. But they bumped her down to about twelve hours a week. My hours as a corporate barista dropped dramatically. It took months before I qualified for any of the income assistance benefits they offered, so a lot of the financial responsibilities landed on Skye.
It’s been well over a year, and we’re still struggling to recover, with some months being harder than others. We’re very fortunate to have a roof over our heads still, though, and food on the table for us and our pets. We’re also fortunate that our relationship has been relatively smooth sailing. Of course, there are little tiffs now and then. But many of our opinions and morals have been similar. So there’s never been anything drastic that we’ve needed to overcome.
Tell us your favorite thing about one another.
My favorite thing about Skye is her exuberant passion and dedication to everything she does. She has the ability to make me laugh even when I don’t want to. She can give me butterflies with just a touch, and her kisses make my head spin and my heart leap, even years later. Skye is the embodiment of all things light and good, and she continues to show me I am worthy of the love I never thought I’d be lucky enough to experience. The unconditional Marshall and Lily kind of love. (HIMYM)
I am lucky to love her and be loved by her.
My favorite thing about Tegan. At first, it was their magnetic energy. It bounced out of the cafe, and their laughter was more addicting than coffee. As I got to know Tegan, I fell for many qualities. But a few favorites would be their spontaneous nature and willingness to take on any adventure with me. We’ve moved over five times in the last two years, and their fire never dwindled. Even after knowing each other for four years, I’ll come home to a bath made for me and love notes hidden around our home. It’s a love I have never felt until them. It’s a love I hope to chase and have my entire lifetime.
What’s in the future for you both?
Skyler is a photographer, dog trainer and currently in school for Graphic Design. I am just starting school for Music Production and Audio Engineering. Within the next few years, we hope to be financially comfortable, working mostly remote jobs, with a tiny home on one of the lovely islands we’ve adventured to. With a yard for our fur babies, and a garden so we can live a sustainable lifestyle. We’d eventually like to have a camper van so we can take off and explore every chance we get.
Skyler will probably release her poetry book someday, I have already released one. And I hope to one day open up my own coffee shop with cats, books, and a tiny stage for music events. Big hopes and big dreams, two things we will never fail to be consistent about.
Photography by Taeya Fierro