In the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Glimmer Train, find “Lady-Ghost Roles” by Laura Roque. The short story explores the oncoming end of a crumbling relationship while casting the familiar break-up story in a new light: the narrator and her boyfriend, Javi, are both dead and are now stuck haunting their old home together.
Tensions still palpable between them, the two watch as loved ones come and go, a realtor enters the picture, and a moving crew starts carrying away their belongings in the days after their deaths. Together, they reflect on moments of their relationship and what brought them to where they currently stand.
Early on, the narrator thinks about Javi: “[ . . . ] I need the universe to transport him somewhere I’m not, maybe hell, or the gym. In life, he’d spent more time touching dumbbells than me anyway.” As time passes, her views soften, though they never settle on a resolution.
Roque gives her narrator a tough exterior, her attitude remaining wry, never too sappy or sentimental. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t read the last two pages with a lump growing in my throat, Roque’s world and character building too strong to resist.
With just enough gentleness and intimacy, Roque’s “Lady-Ghost Roles” is an inventive, enjoyable read.
Review by Katy Haas.