Two early physical representations for the main characters of “The Story” were Star Wars characters. I scrapped those in favor of infinitely more customizable LEGO minifigs, shown below, for Trishna and John. Along with developing my writing and their backstory through weekly updates, I’ve been developing their physical representations through new props and modifications. After overdoing adjustments to John’s right arm, requiring some superglue repair, I wondered: Could their impairments be completely repaired through surgery?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character/world building)
John’s Bad Arm
John was born without any impairments. There’s a conflict of some sort when he’s an infant or small child that mangled his right arm. The conflict amputated his thumb and index finger and caused his arm muscles to under-develop. While he can still use his remaining three fingers for typing, and developed some grip strength through his lessons with Mr. Ebersole, he is stigmatized, maligned, and hated by many for his differences throughout his childhood.
Trishna’s Corrective Surgery
Trishna was born with an underdeveloped foot, malformed leg, and spinal issues. Her parents named her Trishna, which literally means craving or maybe loosely the longing for something better, to represent her desire to live in spite of impairments that might have taken down others. They spend a significant amount of money on corrective surgeries and physical therapy, which helps what can be helped, and the rest is a burden she endures with a smile.
John’s Eventual Surgery
After the events of The Scene, John stays with Trishna at her family’s farm, during her summer vacation at home before leaving for college. John earns the respect of her parents through hard work and dedication so they decide to help John as best they can. Along with financially enabling him to go to college with Trishna, they provide him with the opportunity to get corrective surgery, which helps improve his arm’s mobility… somewhat?
Trishna’s Eventual Tattoo
Growing up, Trishna hated looking at her foot and leg. With guidance from her parents, siblings, teachers, (and John,) she developed self-confidence in every other area of her life, yet her physical appearance was the one sore spot no amount of reassurance could repair. Over their summer vacation before going to college, most of the money John saves goes toward starting the process of getting a beautiful floral tattoo to cover up what she despised.
The Couple’s Repairs
John and Trishna both benefit significantly from their relationship. They share all of their deepest feelings, both through their years of conversations online, and after they meet in person. They help each other through the worst of their negative emotions. They develop an appreciation for kintsugi, literally “golden repair” or maybe loosely the idea of embracing rather than hiding what is broken, which among other things helps them cope with, and thrive in, their world.
The Analogies Within
In a sense, I’ve forced issues upon Trishna and John, and I like that they’ve chosen to overcome their issues rather than succumb to them.