Amanda Ellard

Maybe Get a Cup of Coffee Together

          Hannah had stopped believing in bandages by the time she was ten. The arresting officer escorting her inside the station wonders more than once why she hasn’t asked for one with her torn knuckles looking like the pulp of rotting grapefruit. Hannah is preoccupied with the sourness building up inside of her seeing the pristine office and polished typewriters her older sister Faith is sharing the prime of her life with.

          Faith never helped her when they were kids: skinned knees and nosebleeds ignored, a fall to the coffee table that should’ve granted her stitches leaving her with a wad of wrong sized Band-aids on her forehead, or the times Faith would slip out of the house without her whenever their mother decided to “cold turkey” her medication. Hannah wonders how much of the police is excuses running down the bottom of T.V broadcasts, excuses why Faith can’t get herself hurt, too. How old was Hannah when she learned how to climb on top of the vanity counter by herself to pull tuffs of gauze out of the medicine cabinet? How many children is Faith kneeling in front of in her dry-cleaned uniform, patting their head and telling them not to be afraid?

          The officer is bringing Hannah to her sister of course, letting Faith deal with her. Faith glances up once before turning to her desk-mate and asking him to take her sister to the processing room and record her statement, clean her up, maybe get a cup of coffee together.

Mom and Dad’s Key West Photos

          It turns out our father looks like us. His hair is far lighter than ours in the photos we found, but there’s Trusty’s flat face and small nose I’ve been looking at all my life both on him and in the mirror. We had shown up at mom’s apartment to tackle cleaning it out moments apart like ghosts coming from separate walls, without a word between us. Trusty won’t even look me
in the eyes. When he knocked the contents of mom’s closet shelf down in an effort to reach a second vacuum cleaner, I couldn’t get out the words out to chide him. She had kept the photos so well hidden up there, kept the details of our father so under wraps all our lives, that I didn’t even know if she passed on remember what those two months together had looked like. 

          Trusty sits beside me as he starts leafing through the pictures. The click of the photopaper snapping back into place sounds like the ticking of a clock. I crane my neck to see what he’s searching for but it’s like his eyes are watching a flipbook he doesn’t remember drawing. I realize that he’s not seeing the pictures of mom and dad featuring a far less weathered mom, two smiles up to their eyes, a moped so run-down there’s rust, a town of purple and red paint chipping off the edge of bar counters, Fat Tuesday slushies running down their hands. Trusty’s looking at someone else’s dream but I’m seeing where I was conceived. I’ve never seen a color that’s so me: that ripe peel of vermillion paint curling off rotting sidewalk posts, lining the way to nowhere but also everywhere because there’s only one sidewalk in these photos, only one mom and dad could’ve walked—only one mom and dad—wiping their sticky hands off on the posts as they pass by.

Amanda Ellard

Amanda Ellard is an editor, folklorist, writer, and artist living in Florida. With a background in Japanese language and culture studies, she’s obtaining both a creative writing MFA and a Folklore MA. She loves a great dystopia or wuxia story, and her published work can be found at