“Ghosts and Empties” by Lauren Groff c. 2018 (pages 1-14 in Florida)

A privileged mother of two takes walks at night and considers the ease at which she moves through a world rife with problems. A haunting story about family, love, and loneliness.

Sentences Worth Studying

  • “I have somehow become a woman who yells, and because I do not want to be a woman who yells, whose little children walk around with frozen, watchful faces, I have taken to lacing up my running shoes after dinner and going out in the twilit streets for a walk, leaving the undressing and sluicing and reading and singing and tucking in of the boys to my husband, a man who does not yell” (1).
  • “On my nighttime walks, the neighbors’ lives reveal themselves, the lit windows domestic aquariums. At times, I’m the silent witness to fights that look like slow-dancing without music. It is astonishing how people live, the messes they sustain, the delicious whiffs of cooking that carry to the street, the holiday decorations that slowly seep into daily décor” (3).
  • “During the day, when my sons are in school, I can’t stop reading about the disasters of the world, the glaciers dying like living creatures, the great Pacific trash gyre, the hundreds of unrecorded deaths of species, millennia snuffed out as if they were not precious. I read and savagely mourn, as if reading could some how sate this hunger for grief, instead of what it does, which is fuel it” (7).
  • “Witholding erotic pleasure for the glory of God seems an anachronism in our hedonistic age, and, with their frailty and the hugeness of the house they rattle around in, it has been decided that the remaining nuns must decamp” (9).
  • “It is shocking to enter the dazzling color, the ferocious heat after the chilly gray scale; to travel hundreds of miles over the cracked sidewalks and sparse palmettos and black path-crossing cats I dart away from, into this abundance with its aisles of gaudy trash and useless wrapping and plastic pull tabs that will one day end up in the throat of the earth’s last sea turtle” (12).
  • “I hope they understand, my sons, both now and in the future just materializing in the dark, that all these hours their mother has been walking so swiftly away from them I have not been gone, that my spirit, hours ago, slipped back into the house and crept into the room where their early-rising father had already fallen asleep, usually before eight p.m., and that I touched this gentle man whom I love so desperately and somehow fear so much, touched him on the pulse in his temple and felt his dreams, which are too distant for the likes of me; and I climbed the creaking old stairs and at the top split in two, and heading into the boys’ separate rooms, I slid through the crack under the doors and curled myself on the pillows to breathe into me the breath that my children breathed out” (14).
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About Kelsey Maki

writer and English professor
This entry was posted in book, fiction, sentences, short story, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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