The Angel of Fremont Street

One day, I was folding the clean laundry and listening to music. “I Wish I Was a Girl” by Counting Crows came on, and I was swept away by part of the chorus:

“I wish for all the world that I could say
‘Hey, Elizabeth, you know, I’m doing all right these days…'”

And I thought, you know? I am. And I wish I could tell myself that.

This requires some backtracking.

Fifteen years ago, I was raped. Yes, the rape in “The Angel of Fremont Street” really happened, very much like that. By sheer instinct, I started talking to the rapist, pulling him off his internal script; I made up a whole other life, a whole other person.

Named Elizabeth.

Fast-forward back to know, and hey, Elizabeth, I *am* doing all right these days. I’m happy. I have a great kid, a great husband, wonderful friends. And the girl I was that night… well, I wish I could tell her.

Over the next two years, the story seed there germinated. What if we *do* leave our prior selves behind? Personas, false faces, masks of convenience or of necessity. What if they’re still around? What would they do?

And could they ever know that everything worked out okay?

“The Angel of Fremont Street” came out in a beautiful, painful, cathartic two-day burst when I was meant to be working on something else entirely. It was its time. It was originally called “Hey Elizabeth”, but my editor at ChiZine wanted a different title – and when you sell your very first short story and all they want to change is the title? Fine by me!

You can read “The Angel of Fremont Street” at ChiZine, where it was published in January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award.


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