Friday the 13th

by Sabeen Noorani about a year ago in slam poetry

New York, New York

Friday the 13th

When I was 9 years old

I dreamt of New York City.

of skyscrapers

and the swings in Central Park

and taking the subway everywhere.

I told myself

that I would live there in 10 years

and it would change my life forever

When I woke up on my 19th Birthday

I was in New York City,

and it felt like a dream.

I went to Central Park,

swinging ferociously next to a bunch of 6 year olds

walked through the Upper East Side,

skyscraper after skyscraper

on my left and right,

and walked down the dingy stairs

onto the subway platform,

trying to catch the 6 train back to Union Square.

I felt like the city could never be tainted in my memory;

that I would always love everything about this place,

good or bad,

until the bad happened.

On Friday the 13th

I was introduced to a tall boy

with a strong jawline

and a smile that was startlingly beautiful.

He became my favorite person

for 48 hours.

I took him to the Met

and we stood in front of the Degas

and I explained why two of the paintings that looked almost identical were,

in fact,

vastly different.

He got excited

by WWII propaganda posters

and the greek and roman sculptures by the fountain.

He said all the right things,

made all the right jokes,

and smiled at me in the way everyone wants to be smiled at.

We walked down 5th Ave

and talked about ourselves.

We were walking and talking,

and then he stopped talking

so I stopped walking,

and he just looked down at me

and kissed me with so much urgency

that I almost lost my balance.

I couldn't stop laughing.

They never tell you about the guilt you feel as a survivor.

They tell you about

the repercussions

the fear

the trauma.

But no one told me

I wouldn't be able to hate him after he assaulted me.

No one told me I would be so wrapped up in the picture

he had painted of himself

that I couldn't even bring myself to call him a perpetrator.

But I can’t imagine how what he did makes him anything else.

I was never told i would feel powerless

He pressed me so forcefully to the ground with his body

that I stopped being able to breathe.

My body froze.

I slid up and down

against the bathroom tile

as he thrusted in and out of me like a toy.

The pain was

so piercing

that involuntary tears

rolled down my cheeks

as I listened to him whisper

how good this must be feeling for me.

And about 45 seconds later

he finished.

The boy pulled himself out of me,

cleaned himself up,

went into my room and fell asleep in my bed

And then I was alone.

When I was 19 years old

I believed that New York City would change my life,

and it did,


I’ve always hated Friday the 13th

slam poetry
Sabeen Noorani
Sabeen Noorani
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