I was happily munching on chocolate chip cookies when Joseph came through the door and said we'd been invited over for dinner at Banjo and Scarlett's apartment.
"Oh! I would love that!" I exclaimed, "Want a cookie?"
"No thanks! I would love one, but I decided to fast chocolate."
Joseph had been trying to figure out what to fast for the last few days. Star was going through some things, and we love her, so Joseph decided to fast and pray for her situation to improve. Chocolate was his very favorite indulgence. I was really touched that he was giving up chocolate for a while because he cared for my best friend so much.
We could feel the familiar bliss of friendship the second we walked into Banjo and Scarlett's living room. Their eyes all alight and jubilant.
Banjo and Joseph made themselves busy in the kitchen, and I sat down with Scarlett on the sofa to catch up. We could hear the guys giggling (yes, giggling) over who knows what until they came forth from their laboratory bearing plates brimming over with spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread.
It is a priceless thing to break bread with dear friends.
When dinner was over, Banjo offered us chocolate pudding pops. I accepted enthusiastically, just before I remembered that Joseph was fasting chocolate. I remembered he was fasting chocolate because he said, "No thanks, man, I'm fasting chocolate."
Joseph asked if I wanted to go up to the parkway with him to watch the sun set. I did want to.
Banjo came running out with a blanket and said to take it with us to snuggle in, and then asked if we wanted thermoses with hot chocolate in them, too. Simultaneously, I shouted, "YES!" and Joseph shouted, "I'M FASTING CHOCOLAAAAAATE!" which immediately caused Banjo to dissolve into laughter and offer us coffee instead.
We hugged them goodbye and took off for the parkway.
Evidently, we weren't the only ones wanting to watch the sun set that evening. Waterrock Knob was a mess with vehicles and families and motorcyclists.
We took our blanket and sat on the edge of the mountain. The sky was perfect. All the fire-y oranges and reds changing into pinks and yellows with the slow passage of time. We sat in silence, just taking it in.
All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, everyone who was there started to leave. The sun set was still totally brilliant when the last motor cycle sputtered off down the mountain, and we were alone. It was nice. Really nice.
The first star came out and I spotted it.
"Hey, Joe, the first star! Make a wish!"
"Will you marry me?" He didn't miss a beat.
I looked over and saw him holding a ring. It was a ridiculous ring. It looked like costume jewelry! I wasn't sure if he was kidding, or not? I was totally off guard.
"Where did you get that?!" I blurted, started to explode with laughter and then stopped myself.
He was serious. His eyes said so.
"I mean, it's pretty! Where'd you find it? I mean Yes! Yes, of course I will!"
Fortunately, he was too busy cracking up at the fact that everyone had gone away to dwell too much on my first reaction to the ring. He explained that he had silently prayed that we could be alone for this, but he didn't really think everyone would pack up and leave like they did!
So the ring was totally not my style. It was too big, it was yellow gold, and it had diamonds in it. But his explanation of the meaning he saw in it was too sweet for me to hold it against him in any way.
The way the metal curved along the lines that held the diamonds in reminded him of our mountains. The diamonds, of our stars, and the sapphire in the middle, of the night sky. It represented our home. Our mountains where we read Job with our church family, where we met God in times that troubled us, where we went to celebrate the very beginning of our relationship, and now... where he had asked me to marry him.
At that point, honestly, I could care less that the ring was kind of hideous. I had the most thoughtful fiance in the world!
Out of his coat, he pulled one of the secret reasons Banjo and Scarlett had invited us over. Their green laser pointer.
We stayed up on the mountain for hours, drawing stories in our stars.