In this first of a two-parter looking at the main characters of “The Story,” let’s explore the question of what makes Trishna the prettiest girl imaginable to John. I don’t think it’s exactly because of physical appearance, because they talk over instant messaging for probably over five years before actually meeting in person. The attraction goes deeper than that, into how she inspires him to feel, both during his highest highs and his lowest lows.
Spoilers?: Minor [exploring character motivations]
Trishna is always happy to see John, either online or once they get together in person.
John’s upbringing is not a particularly good one, where most of his interactions are negative, so Trishna is a bright spot of humanity through all that darkness. At first, he’s not sure what to think of the attention. He’s not used to it. After a few days of talking and they open up about each others’s lives, he becomes enamored, like she did with him after seeing him post on some videogame message board.
From there, they begin talking nearly daily about all sorts of things.
It’s more difficult for John to open up because of his upbringing, but when he does, Trishna provides a degree of safety and security that he had never experienced before. His story is rather sad and difficult for anyone to sit through, but she does, and does what she can to provide emotional support in particularly trying times. She might occasionally invite family members into the chat or when they talk over the phone, depending on the complexity of the issue, but she does what she can to help him out.
That deep empathy fuels John’s perspective of Trishna as the prettiest girl imaginable.
There might be other girls out there that might have more attractive appearances, but for John, those mean little to him when compared to the emotional satiation that he had received from Trishna during their time before they met. That is a deeper beauty to John than any hairstyle or body image. It’s that sort of deep, emotional friendship that resonates through their romance. They will have disagreements, arguments, and probably even fights like any couple, but they will still have a relationship rooted in caring about each other’s wellbeings.
Trishna is the instigator for that level of relationship.
John isn’t so much incapable of cultivating friendships as perhaps ignorant or fearful of them. Through meeting, talking with, later moving in with Trishna, their college years, and beyond, he does learn – beginning with Trishna – to be social and trusting of others. He becomes friends with Float and Quest in college and introduces them to Trishna. Without Trishna, John wouldn’t have been trusting of anyone at all. When he meets her family, they all integrate him into their family with warmth and kindness, and show him that there is more to life than what he had experienced.
Trishna is probably quite pretty, in her own way, too.
She might be more humbly attractive than any traditional aspects of attraction, but she could probably wear a nice evening dress just as well as anyone else. She might even be a little reluctant or shy to do that, but that’s where John would encourage her to try on dresses until she finds one, or multiple, that she likes. In that sort of way, Trishna’s attractiveness is bolstered by John, just as John’s attractiveness is bolstered by Trishna, which we’ll cover in tomorrow’s essay. Trishna may try out other things of her own interest to increase her attractiveness to John, even if he insists that it isn’t necessary.
One area I realize is underdeveloped is Trishna’s own college-level friendships.
Like with “Float” and “Quest,” Trishna should have friends – both her own age and older – that might help her learn more about herself from various perspectives. I imagine that she’ll meet some women in classes that will provide friendly advice, maybe not so much men around her own age or older just because she might not be interested in talking with them so much. Trishna is, I’m not sure if this is strictly attractive but let’s assume in the positive, extremely devoted to John. She has no interest in betraying their friendship or relationship.
[There might be some situations that test the waters, but that’s for another essay…]
The way I imagine it, there are three main phases to “The Story” and their relationship. There’s before they meet, before they go to college, and before they graduate college. Everything after that is built on those three phases. Trishna’s attractiveness, besides being a given considering that she’s the female lead of “The Story” and therefore should have some innate attractiveness to draw the reader in, perhaps, should then develop in those three phases. She might start by learning about her attractiveness, then learning what John finds attractive about her, then learning about what attractiveness means in a wider context both for their relationship and the world around them.
In that regard, attractiveness is not just a surface-level thing.
John is probably most attracted to Trishna’s positivity, where she acts in ways that always help him feel better or at least don’t bring him down. She should later find success in college and beyond through that upbeat attitude. She might even be able to successfully impart that sort of non-sexual attraction in John with others, where through her efforts, her family’s, and probably therapy to iron out the roughest patches of his psyche, he will learn to become more open and accepting toward others. That, in my opinion, is one of the truest forms of attraction. You can become instantly attractive to anyone by being able to uplift them and make them better than they were before – if that’s what they want. Throughout “The Story,” then, John will see examples of Trishna being genuinely uplifting for himself and others.
That’s part of what makes her the prettiest girl imaginable to him.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium. Definition for Hermosa in the URL/slug.|
|Inspirations: The original draft from September 26, 2018:
“About a year ago, I was brainstorming with someone about Trishna [left]. I explained that she and John [right] will have physical impairments and how “The Story” will detail the grime and glitter of their struggles and successes both as people with impairments and just as normal people. Then as an off-hand thought, I mused aloud “maybe Trishna shouldn’t be too pretty…””
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2020 May 10 [3:24pm to 4:06pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 May 10 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|