Isi couldn't say what it was that prompted them to ask. Nothing particularly interesting or romantic had happened that day. It had, in fact, been a rather lazy Sunday until that moment. The afternoon sun shone through the big windows, casting everything in a golden shimmer.
He was sitting on their couch, strumming idly on his guitar, occassionally making notes for a new song that had been on the back of his mind for a few days. Sascha was on the floor, hunched over drawings and plans spread out all around him. Just before, he'd been humming along with Isi's guitar. Now he was completely absorbed in his work, furrowed brows indicating a near breakthrough. Isi secretly loved watching him like this - in his (albeit biased) opinion, it was the ultimate pinnacle of cuteness.
God, she was growing into a sap.
Maybe it was the sunlight behind Sascha, making it seem like a halo was glowing around his head. (If so, they could never say that out loud.) Maybe it was the feeling of home, the peace and quiet that always overtook them when their boyfriend was near.
Or maybe it was just her subconcious overtaking his brain that made her blurt out: "Wanna marry me, baby?"
At first Sascha was sure he'd misheard. Nothing about how this day had gone so far had indicated something unusual was going to happen. It had been an almost typical Sunday, both of them busy with their little projects, completely content to simply be in each others presence. Sascha absolutely loved these moments, always had ever since they first became friends. His heart soared knowing that Isi, who had often tried to put on a front with everyone they met, had always felt that comfortable and at ease around him.
Now Isi was looking at him not with ease, but with slight apprehension and a little wide-eyed, as if the question had surprised her as well. Sascha scrambled a bit trying to put his thoughts in order. He had always known they
were gonna get married one day - Isi was the love of his life and he knew he wanted to spend forever with them - , but up until this point it had been a rather abstract thought. They were still in their early twenties, had just properly moved in together a few months ago, so Sascha had filed the idea of marriage under 'later'. Apparently, later was coming sooner than expected.
He noticed Isi had started to fidget with their nails. "I'm sorry, I don't know where that came from, forget I..."
Isi's smile was bright and Sascha had never been more sure of anything.
At first, nothing really changed. They didn't mention it to anyone and didn't really talk about it. If somebody noticed Sascha glancing and smiling at Isi more often than usual or Isi almost absentmindedly brushing their thumb over
Sascha's ring finger, it didn't come up. All the while Isi's mind was frantically occupied with one thing: finding the perfect ring.
It was a nightmare.
Isi prided herself on having great taste in clothes and jewellery, but this quest (and it was a quest, thank you very much) somehow made her doubt everything she thought she knew. Gold? Silver? Steel? Gem stones? And how much money should they spend? Their first instinct was going high: Sascha was worth everything and more, nothing could be good enough. On second thought, he knew this wasn't the way; Sascha would get flustered and overwhelmed knowing that Isi spend so much money on him when he couldn't really reprociate.
What would Sascha like, really?
Sascha liked being there for the people he loved. He valued uprightness, patience, putting the effort in. He was one of those people who truly cared more for the thought that went into giving gifts rather than what the price tag
said. (Which made his birthday occassionallly a nightmare, though he seemed to have loved anything that Isi had given him so far.)
Deep in thought, Isi twisted the shiny white ring on her finger. What would Sascha like?
Sascha, a carpenter, working with wood. Sascha, who always walked the extra mile for them. Beautiful, patient, kind-hearted Sascha.
A ring specifically for him. With...wood?
Sitting up straight, Isi pulled out their phone and started typing.
Two weeks later, Sascha came home later than expected. The sun had already set, the soft light making their flat look almost pink. Isi was pacing their living room floor. When she laid eyes on him, she brightened and almost jumped into arms. "Fucking finally!" Sascha hugged him tightly, gave him a quick kiss and chuckled. "Sorry, the job took longer than we thought. Are you alright? Is there something I should know?"
Isi pulled back and made a face Sascha couldn't quite read. They were excited, but...nervous? Happy, but also ...kinda scared. She started picking her fingers.
"So...remember I asked you something a while back?"
It took Sascha a moment before he got it. "Of course." He paused. "I haven't changed my mind if that's where this is going."
"That's good to hear, but no." Isi hesitated before reaching for the sofa cushion and pulling out a small box. Sascha's heart quite literally skipped a beat.
"I know the way I asked you wasn't really how things are done. I didn't plan it, I basically just blurted it out and I didn't have a ring. I know", they held up their hand when Sascha opened his mouth, "you don't really care about all of that, and doing things the usual way is not really my style either. But you deserve, like, the world, and I can't give you that, I can't really go back and propose properly, but I can give you a ring."
With that, Isi opened the box, pulled one of the two rings out and held it out for Sascha, who gingerly took it. The ring was completely made of wood, dark brown, almost black on the outside, a softer, lighter brown on the inside. Purple and golden lines swirled on the surface, completely intertwined.
Sascha was still staring at the ring in his hand when Isi cleared her throat. "The outside is birch, it's supposed to symbolize love and luck. The inside is thuja, like Aurora." Sascha looked up to see Isi smiling at him before they continued. "The purple line is me and I used gold for you because..." Isi swallowed. "You're kinda like the sun to me. You're so bright and warm and I don't know what I'd do without you." She paused. "Do you like it?"
Without thinking, Sascha pulled Isi close and kissed him. Deeply, reverently. When they broke apart, Isi blinked, looking dazed. Sascha smiled. "I love it."
Isi let out a breath. With shaking hands, he took the ring and carefully put it on Sascha's fingers. Slowly, Sascha took the other ring and did the same for Isi, kissing the ring finger softly. The pink light around them was slowly turning into purple. Their foreheads touched almost on their own accord, their fingers intertwining. Taking in the moment.
Forever couldn't come soon enough.