A Lifetime of Remorse

February 17, 2008
By Sharin Khander, East Elmhurst, NY

She’s never belittled me in public nor wronged me in solitude. A close and chummy relationship we had, encounters: absolutely none. It was about time I ended our online chat frenzy. Three years meaningless tete-a-tete about potential lovers, bratty little sisters, and dreams of meeting each other one day at the summer Olympics. She would speak to me all day like there was no tomorrow and I would be entwined in her own web of life, always forgetting about mine. Unfortunately, my life hadn’t stopped while I listened to her stories of cello practice and getting tipsy at some dodgy London pub. My grades steadily dropped till they reached a pinnacle low of an 88. Not that I actually cared for my grades because why should a piece of paper ever judge my capabilities and work habits? Emily possessed all the qualities of a true friend and great penpal. I on the other hand, had not uttered a single truth about myself during the time we conversed. From the beginning I wondered where this friendship would lead us to. For the time being I needed a friend after all that’s happened with ones at school. As I walked down a quiet alley they stabbed me in the back to flee the scene. There I lay hurt and confused as onlookers passed by and stared in awe and despair, none of them doing the kindest as to take me into their social group and leave me with an ounce of hope. From then on, the jar was always half empty and the day was very youthful. I needed an escape from reality and a sense of wonder from being somebody other then myself. That escape came from Nicky. Nicole Mariana Kerrigan, the spoiled, yet charming daughter of a successful New York investment banker and aging Marylin Monroe-like beauty. A massive duplex penthouse on the upper east side, extravagant clothing, looks of her own and outstanding charisma, Nicole was the product of my artistry. For the next three years, I became Nicky.

Emily Mercer, interests: punk rock, grunge, goth and metal. This array of musical preferences seemed to astound me, as I was feeling depressed and had the ability to relate to the morbid lyrics and odd use of metaphors. I slowly and hesitantly typed, “hey Im Nicole, I saw your profile and was wondering if we could we pen pals. If you care to chat just im me at serendipity92 . Unknowing if I would soon receive an answer I clicked send and hoped for the best. The thought that this white lie could have gone so far as to break somebody’s heart never seemed to enter my mind. Maybe this two line message could be the start to a great friendship that would last for years to come, and so it did.

Emily and I watched each other grow up in the prime of life. Emily lived in a small suburban town near London and I lived in the glamour and allure of 59th and Park . Emily found my life interesting, or Nicole’s life should I say. She believed it for the longest time. I made her believe it. I couldn’t tell her about my monotonous life in Jackson Heights, where both of my parents constantly fought and I had to keep up with the “privelidge” of being at an outstanding school. We both started out by distinguishing great punk bands to conversations about universities and politics. Soon enough I realized I knew Emily very well and she just knew the illusion of Nicole Kerrigan. She felt she found her other half across the pond in America. It killed me inside to know that I lied to her and that this friendship that she felt was so great had no truth in it whatsoever. I never told her my actual name, where I lived, or my school. Is there a possibility that Emily had been faking it the entire time as well? No. Emily had been truly faithful to me and went as far as showing me her Facebook profile with all of her friends and pictures of herself that she showed me before. These were definitely not from yahoo pictures or google images. I was fully aware that this dedication to our relationship was very dangerous. Similar to a young college frat boy and his knocked-up girl friend, I as the frat boy refused to commit. If I did she would soon be suspicious and figure out that I am someone other than Nicole.

It’s not that I was paranoid of that she would find out who I actually was, but that it almost did at one point. An afternoon after my last midterms, I sat down to mindlessly chat among my friends, which I in time had a numerous amount of. Feeling that I ignored Emily for the longest time I greeted her in my casual “hey there”. She answered back and told me the story of how she had gotten her a new mobile, or cell phone as we say in the states. I knew where this was going and I didn’t feel comfortable. Emily felt she trusted me enough to give me her number. Thinking that the phone lines could never connect directly because we’re so far away, I gave her my number as well. As I surfed the web for new rider boots that I would soon save up the money to buy, I received a call from an unknown number Emily having long been offline and having a brand new social circle in high school lead me to think it might have been someone I met in school. With my most unflattering voice full of soy crisps, I croaked, “hello”. On the phone I heard a young girl talking away as I tried to figure out what exactly she was trying to say. At last I figured, “It’s me Emilayy”. Now Emily had told me she was very well spoken for an English person but all I heard was cockney come out of her mouth. We spoke for exactly two and a half minutes, which costed me somewhere around $7 and her 10. Soon after that Emily kept calling and my dad would wonder when he received the phone bill what kind of a number started with “011 .

Sure I thought it was a little irritating for her to keep calling and texting me like that, but maybe if I just spoke to her on the internet, it would soon be ok and she would realize it’s better to chat online. Emily would soon surprise me with the news that would make me end our three year fling. She mentioned her father, who was also a banker, going on a business trip that January and coming to America. Emily also mentioned how she was tagging along. Now where else would a banker from England come for work? Why of course the financial capital of the world, New York. Right then I felt I needed to sign off before she asked for my address and where to meet up.

From then on my guilty conscience frequently came over for some tea and scones. All I could offer it was a platter of regret and two spoons of “what on earth is wrong with me?”. Emily frequently texts me asking if she had done something wrong or if she offended me in any way. The only thing left to do was to tell myself that her only fault was blind trust for a complete liar. Emily taught me the importance of honesty. Whenever I look back at our friendship I knew it could have lasted till we were fully grown adults. There could have been a moment where we recognized each other in a stadium full of people at a 500m swim relay in 2012. We would sit and bet on opposing countries and whoever lost would have to pay for tea. I could have lived knowing that somebody in England cares about me and will always be there for me when nobody else was. Finding a great pen pal with great compatibility is as hard as finding the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Happiness came to my door so easily and just as easily I told it to scram. When I think of poor Emily and her innocent nature, I wondered if we could start on a clean slate and if she would ever forgive me. But I knew it wouldn’t happen, in her mind and in her eyes I would always be the compulsive liar I already am. How would she ever trust me again? I wouldn’t blame her, I am not one to be trusted.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!