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First sentences

I came across a bunch of old notepad files filled with one-liners and unfinished sentences in my hard drive a few weeks ago. I was in the middle of moving and deleting old files to make room for more disk space when I stumbled upon these fragmentary notes. I remembered these from a few months, and even years ago; I used to diligently type whatever random phrase I'd hear or think about during the day. Some of them already had a story in mind, some still have yet to be figured out. Some were cluttered, others already made sense. They were just there, tucked away in different folders, waiting to be found, or finished.

I tried to remember the stories behind some of them; I wanted to finish the stories that awaited some others. It's a marvel wading through words you've long abandoned - it's like seeing a familiar face but not knowing his name. They weren't just mere construction of words - they were sentences that came forth from a time of my life that's long past, that no longer exists. Here were a kid's words. Here were sentences that that version of me thought were good enough to begin stories.

Joan Didion once said something about first sentences. When you write your first sentence, you're stuck with it. And by the time you write your second one, she said, you've closed out on all your options.

Out of curiosity, I attempted to put them together. I wasn't looking for anything, I just wanted to see where they will drive at: on their own, together.

It was twenty-two minutes in and their pancakes have not arrived.

They all promised her the sky, she remembered. 

The thing about tuberculosis is you start caring about your lungs, but forget about your heart.

She came in expecting nothing, he expected to come in nothing.

If there was anything he now knew, it's that she didn't come with assembly instructions.

It's interesting where first sentences take you. I don't remember most of them; I don't even know where they came from, nor where they will go. I can't recall if I wrote them down after an interesting jeepney ride, or a tiresome day in school. They don't always have to make sense, but at the very least, you can be sure they will lead to something. That's what they are for anyway.

Funny how they were put together, once the universe decided it's done setting them apart.


Hello, May: for the first sentences you brought from a year ago, and all the ones that led to today.