It has to end

by Sankage Steno

I rolled the car’s window down and felt the twilight breeze on my face. As the wind brushed my skin, I thought, sana hindi na matapos ‘to. Of course I knew the feeling was fleeting, that sooner or later it would end. It had to. If it didn’t, then I wouldn’t probably relish that moment in my journey yesterday. Heck, I wouldn’t even have taken that trip in the first place. So I found yet another experience to prove a relatively well-known theory on beauty.

Things are beautiful because they’re temporary.

Take for example your favorite movie. If you don’t have any, pick any feel-good flick you’ve seen recently or from way back, say, Pitch Perfect or Magic Temple or Batang X. What makes these movies good, apart from the technical aspects of the film, is that it ended. If one of these went on forever, you wouldn’t probably have watched it. Let’s not talk of forever just for now. Let’s just say the movie’s total running time, hypothetically speaking, was 10 hours. Unless you’re a Lav Diaz fan, you know you’d never want to see it.

The same goes for music. Again, pick a favorite song. Listen to it in your mind. Can you hear the singer now in your head singing the chorus or your favorite line? Good. I’ll pick Pagsubok and Stigmatized by Orient Pearl and The Calling, respectively. Let’s give ourselves a few seconds to listen to our song.

I know some of us could listen to the same song for days on end, but imagine that song playing until your dying days, non-stop. It would be torture, that’s for sure.

Now pick a flower. The most beautiful flower you could ever imagine. It may be a rose, that’s a classic, or a tulip or daisies, or it could be a lowly santan or that fragrant and pure sampaguita. We all know flowers wither, and I think almost all will agree with me that a flower, by itself, is beautiful. Digging deeper, I suppose a flower becomes even more beautiful because it is a fact that it won’t last forever.

And so we take time to cherish the “beautiful” things in life.

We take time to celebrate life.

We do so because all the things in this universe—the flowers, the movies, the songs, the stars, the rain, the sunset, and even love—will not be there for us to see and smell and hear and feel whenever we want to. They’re not designed for eternity. Well, you can be romantic and say, “Ang pag-ibig namin ay panghabambuhay” or “I will love you until the end of time.” But you know these are just words.

Life and death work side by side to make sure things don’t stay in their place (no matter how rightful these are) forever.

But that’s where the true beauty of things lies. If we could live forever, we would not cherish life. We will not create music or paintings or machines that will make living a lot easier and more pleasurable. We do these contraptions and arts because life, just like the breeze and the flowers, is fleeting, so we take pains to make the most out of it. We see the beauty in it. You know how familiarity breeds contempt? Ditto.

Eternity breeds nonchalance… and any casual indifference takes the beauty out of things.