Broken Hearts

by Lisa Verdekal

They used to love their work.


Before the changes set in they never even considered it work. They were simply doing what they loved best, each of them meticulously adhering to his speciality that kept the show going. They were unrivalled geniuses. Their job was their life. And it was a glorious profession.

Graciously, they never took sole responsibility for their exquisite work. They had a small team working with them who, equally efficient, were valued members of the project. Yet to the public, the Five were the main guys, the ones called upon when the job needed doing. And the demand was relentless. High achieving workaholics, they put in gruelling hours.  

But did they complain. Never. That is, not until the changes couldn’t be ignored.

All in all the whole team had a strong track record of reliability. They had outstanding testimonials. Deterioration and malfunction of equipment did occur and if by working harder they could deliver in another way, the Five were on it. They were simply masters of their trade.

There was much to appreciate about their work, yet it was not up to them what was recorded, filed and shared. Their responsibility was to facilitate the optimal sensory experience. Free of charge. The rest was down to their customers.

Whenever the Five were asked what they loved most about their jobs, initially they had trouble narrowing it down. How could one choose a favourite out of such a prolific selection?

“Ah we couldn’t tell you.” one would say. “Too many, too many,” said another waving a hand. And together nodding they’d sit a moment in silence. Then slowly the grins would appear and they’d begin to speak, looking at each other with impish eyes. Colour was often mentioned. And music. The scent of a new born was another. Dark chocolate and coffee.  Warm skin after a hot bath.

Enthusiasm mounting, more examples were offered, and quicker.

A cool breeze, a sunset, rainbows, puppies, kittens. A leafy canopy.

And they kept coming.

The sweet scent of roses, the silken petals, the skin of dolphins, fireworks, laughter.

Jumping up, their voices louder.

A kiss, a hug, the warmth of a fire, the dancing flames. City streets scoured by snow. A good cup of tea after a long day.

Shouting now, imagery crowded the air.

Swimming, dancing, singing, curry, salty chips.

They waved and hopped speaking simultaneously.

Freshly washed sheets, water for a parched throat, full moons, crescent moons, plums just off the branch, tropical beaches, ancient forests, a smile, a...  

Until finally they’d fall back into their chairs laughing and exhausted. Once again all agreeing it was impossible to pick a favourite.

Now this had been the norm for ever it seemed. But over time, this building up of insidious changes couldn’t be ignored. At first they had tried to do just that, telling themselves it would pass. Busy with the many duties demanding their full attention. Mary’s fabulous dinner parties. Olaf’s silk suits. Tanya’s wedding dress. Jack’s cello practice. And of course the photos. So many photos. And stories and lectures. Film and TV.

Nevertheless the joy was being squeezed out of this noble profession. Assaulted by increasing acridity, One moaned and attempted to breathe through his mouth. Two’s tongue burned with the persistent bitter aftertaste of noxious ingredients. Harsh and droning noise continuously besieged Three’s ears overriding his beloved sounds. Unable to witness the devastation taking place wherever he looked, Four retreated into the shadows and lowered his eyes. Frightened by the synthetic residue that coated each touch, Five withdrew his hand again and again.

And every moment of every day as these strange, intrusive sensations grew in power; the Five struggled to fulfil their duties not only for humanity, but all living things

Until sight, sound, smell, taste and touch became one sensation of pain.



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Writers Bio

Brought up on the sunny west coast of California, I now live in the west of Ireland.. Before i settled down in the countryside, I lived in London for four years and then spent another four years in Berlin. 

The five faces in the image prompted me to find an intriguing five of something I could work with. It wasn't long before I found it and let the anguished expressions tell the story.

Inspirational ImageUnder The Skin by Victor Arceby Victor Arce

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'The Hoops of the Road'
by KJ Greenberg

'The Same'
by Arlene Antoinette

by Erin Oweczkin

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