Pretty is a word that she'd heard all her life, she was bound to get a second look everywhere she went.
Being Eurasian, one would ask if she was Indian, some might've guessed if she was Spanish and a few would've spewed out Deutsch words but Pretty knew that was just a trick to get her attention.
Boys had sent her roses; written poems and some offered their hand in marriage with a promise of richness and happily ever after tied in a bow. But her parents had better plans in mind when they took their kids on a plane, destination Tinseltown.
As a new girl in town, the rumors of her beauty had spread like wildfire.
Boys would offer to mow her parents' lawn with hopes of catching a glimpse of the girl whose face was a blend of continents with big brown eyes and honey colored skin.
But Pretty was foreign to the custom of the new world that she'd just moved into instead she buried her nose in a book and played piano after school.
Then she met Brody, a hunk with ambitions of going pro football and a sharp mind. Brody was the ultimate dreamboat with girls gawking at every syllable that came out of his mouth,
Pretty had no qualms of placing her hand in the crook of his arm.
After high school, Pretty shared an apartment with her sister who was a sophomore in college but her sister stayed at her boyfriend's place 5 days a week except for laundry days.
Brody liked to stay overnight after a night out in town or after an argument with his mother but Pretty didn't mind at all, she loved having him around. Then he asked if he could stay a little longer than an overnight, she nodded Yes and bought new furniture when he arrived with a suitcase in hand.
Starting off as a freshman in college, having a boyfriend to go home to and a new set of friends; Pretty thought life couldn't get better.
But being in a relationship was more than she'd bargained for when they had little in common. They argued and made up until it became a cycle. No longer the Pretty and Brody duo that people used to admire, they grew apart.
One afternoon, Brody parked his black Tahoe on the curb next to the sign just after street cleaning. The air was thick with unspoken goodbyes; Brody closed the door behind him taking the irony of uncertainty along with his things.
Pretty stood facing the blinds in her kitchen window ignoring the sound of soapy water
circling its way before meeting its fate down the drain.
Months later, Pretty decided it was best to be adored than adored, so she allowed to be dined and wined and looked the other way if one of them had so much as made the wrong move. After college, she met a man who had everything in her checklist and gave her the wedding that people would read on the glossy magazines. But the perfect husband was another Brody in a suit and tie, what once was a fancy home and 2 brand new wheels on the driveway was nothing short of a museum and a cold sheet on one side of the bed.
Pretty packed up her bag and left her wedding ring on a soap dish next to the state of the art glass basin that she used to flaunt whenever company was around.
Many moons after, Pretty bought an old house with a backyard in the south part of the town. She played piano on Saturday mornings, mastered the half moon and tree pose, sought comfort in hiking trips and grew lemons in her backyard.
One day she received a call from a childhood best friend who wanted to play cupid for Pretty and a single dad from an island country in Southeast Asia who was traveling to Tinseltown for business.
When Mr. Single Dad called, he politely and awkwardly said their mutual friend had given him her address with instructions to deliver a package of home made sweets in person.
If it wasn't for the lightheartedness in his voice, Pretty would've asked him to FedEx the package to avoid any mishap that might've been caused by the overeager cupid no matter how mouthwatering the sweets might be.
The next day, Pretty found herself heading to a seated area under a big shade while cooking up all kinds of excuses in the book to be somewhere else.
She stood in her business suit, a hair in a bun and a pair of court heels that clicked against the stoney floor in the middle of rush hour.
Mr. Single Dad rose to his feet, he called himself Brian in his 6-foot height, barely 30, cut and dipped in a color three shades deeper than honey.
It wasn't until after a friendly waiter came by to bring her second glass of iced drink when she looked up at the time that flew by.
Aside from being a Eurasian himself, Brian spent his time working, raising his son and an athlete to the boot.
They met again for dinner before Brian left for another trip to the big apple. Pretty drove home with a disconcerting heart wondering if she'd ever saw him again when an incoming message arrived with a photo of two round ticket with her name on it.
Pretty jumped into her car with a traveling bag stuffed with lingerie, never been out of the box boots and clothes that would make Brian like a cat that skyrocketed to the ceiling.
Since the New York trip, Brian and Pretty promised to visit every 3 months and spent a week sometimes two with each other.
Whenever he or she had to fly home, Pretty felt depleted that no amount of yoga or money or clothes could replace his absence from her sight.
But the warmhearted man was a constant sun in her dark dreary days that she wanted to jump through space and immerse in his presence.
There were friends who made her laugh, her sister and her mom to dine and talk with but Brian was a bird of his kind and the rest was pale in comparison.
Pretty asked her mom if she would ever remarry, the 60 something woman whose insomniac cure was by watching Lifetime and smoked menthol in her backyard said that she'd met the love of her life when she married the father of her children and she wanted to spend her old days being happy and alive.
A few months ago, it was Brian's turn to visit and Pretty had everything planned from hiking, dining, a visit to the winery before the end of the week.
When she greeted him at the terminal, his kisses were as warm as the hands that cupped her face.
After a night of settling in, they hiked and stopped for lunch when Brian went down on his knees with a ring encased in a bed of velvet that he'd carried in his pocket.
Pretty stood on top of the hill basking in the sight of trees unsuspecting the essence that radiated out of her lungs the moment Brian put the stars in her eyes.