The Stranger with a Cigar


“Do you smoke?” A faint whisper reached my ears. I ungazed from the engaging thoughts I was immersed in and looked to my left. Next to me sat a man who looked to be middle aged. There were dark circles below his eyes with a spark over his sharp nose which hinted at the loss of sleep he may have faced of late. He looked like he was trying to study me, a slight smirk curling his handsome face. I tried to come out of my observing trance; forcing myself out of it to prevent any further embarrassment. The man besides me had quite a striking visage, his penetrating eyes giving me the kind of thrill I hadn’t experienced since a while in this new town.


“Occasionally,” I said,  “But I don’t carry Cigars to dinner.”


“Ah. Just say the word Darling; I carry my cigar collection with me on travel, to share with interesting and beautiful young ladies I meet on my many voyages.” He smiled. Golly, that made me blush to the tips of my toes.


“Which one would you like?” He took out a small case containing roughly about 8 Cigars. The bronze colour of the case gave it an antique appearance. By taking a while, I faked a little choice. Finally I picked up the best looking one and smiled at him. “Lovely. Capafina, my personal favourite.”


The raucous bar slowly faded out of focus and staring into his charcoal grey eyes, I got wrapped up in his enchanting voice. I didn’t realise how time passed until the sulky bartender interrupted our conversation and told us it was time for him to wind up.

” It seems, the cold night is calling out for me to love her yet again.” He said, “See you around love.” Before I could bid this alluring stranger goodbye he left through the doors, and I headed back to my room upstairs.


Maybe the cold night could take a break from loving him tonight; maybe I could love him today. I thought to myself. Never had I felt so enamoured by any man before. He made me feel like a woman without even touching me. How could I just let this mesmerising gentleman go away? Lust made me leave my room and walk towards the way he went. He must have not gone far away, I placated my wildly thudding heart. The quiet night in this town that usually scared me had me lusting after it tonight. I quickened my footsteps and soon spotted a man entering the Delta inn across the street I was walking on. He wore the same luxury brown jacket my stranger had  worn, and was about the same height, I reckoned, I reached the midnight inn finally. My eyes searched for him around the bar. There he was, standing and talking to someone I couldn’t see because of the huge sofa blocking my gaze.I carried myself forward to make my view clearer. It was a lady,who was looking at the collection of his cigars.


My passion filled heart quickly became  heavy and I gasped for words to speak,

“What are you ….?”

My shrill voice managed to speak up. He looked behind him and narrowed his eyes. What took me by surprise was to see him smiling, as I fell on the ground. And then I knew no more.




15th of March 1928,


A woman was found dead under mysterious circumstances at around 1:30 am in the lobby of Delta Inn. The Coroner’s reports revealed the presence of a black tar like substance in her lungs. The workers at the place where she worked as a hostess The Eagle Inn, a place of questionable repute; suggested she was last seen smoking a Cigar alone and was in  quite a jaunty mood.

This is the third death in the past fornight, to rock the quiet neighbourhood of Erickesville. Currently, Mr. Smith the hot headed bartender of Eagle Inn, has been taken into custody by the local Sheriff department.


Timeless, 3 of 3


We didn’t talk as much as we used to, we didn’t love as much as we used to and suddenly I could comprehend your absence and the abject loneliness our love brought. I was still waiting as you asked but the wait was too long and time was wearing us down. Then one spring break we met and time became the silence between once furiously beating hearts, now oh so quite. I couldn’t hear you and you couldn’t read me, our words so twisted and I love yous so hesitant that we decided to break us off. ‘Not now’, ‘now is not the right time for us’, ‘let’s try again’, ‘sometime later’, wasn’t that what we said to each other ? Slowly later became days and months and I was never so aware of the time that passed, each second driving a sharp nail sealing the fate of our love. It didn’t wait for our love to heal, it just moved at it’s relentless pace, changing the hues of our love turning it into a dead and cold thing. I mourned, I lamented the loss of my sunshine, but I learnt to remember what we had with a profound fondness, but I never did let you go, I have to now though. You stayed deep in my heart, in my psyche but each year your hold on me lessened, you don’t own my heart like you once did, time has changed me, my youth has faded to the salt and pepper of middle age. It changed you too, it froze your beautiful smile but you acquired laugh lines on the face I so adored. Time changed your love for me into the friendly warmth of our past. You said you had to let me go a long while ago so that new love could come into your life and now I have to let you go, I have to stop waiting, because you have stopped looking forward to see me waiting for you and your love. Time changed us, changed our not now to not ever, it flowed over the hollow ache in my chest, it taught me to laugh without you, to cry with someone who wasn’t you, it changed the way I looked at you, felt for you, but I don’t regret waiting for you, because even if time took away my lover it gave me back my best friend.


Timeless, 2 of 3


And suddenly time was the wild thudding of my heart, reminding me of all those unsaid words between us, every day, every hour. ‘Not now’, ‘not today’, ‘I will tell her later.’ became the excuses for me to pacify my heart. All of them crumbled down, when I saw you kissing the good for nothing guys who didn’t appreciate your value and all of a sudden time was nothing but the white hot blur of jealousy, urging me to snatch you away and hide you in my arms. It was the time to be brave and tell you, so I did. I told you how much you meant to me, just how much I loved you and you smiled my smile and said that you always knew and were waiting for me to know that too. Unknowingly, I had made you wait but no more, time again ceased to exist, because you were finally mine in every way and time had no place between us. We spent an entire summer wrapped up in each other, doing what we always did, but now with more meaning and an ever growing need to love the other. We made new memories in our old places, making everything about each other. And then in a blink, school was over and we had to say our goodbyes, to go our own ways and follow our dreams. I almost decided to follow you and your dream but you said you never wanted to come between my dreams, you didn’t want for me to regret our love. After much convincing and prodding I grudgingly listened. Afterall distance didn’t matter, and we would be together soon and no one would be able to part us. “Wait for me,” you said. I did and I always would. But time had a way of making it’s presence known, ironically it became the same distance which was spent apart from each other, the silent tears that flowed freely in cold lonely nights, the ache where my heart resided, the empty text messages and the not quite long phone calls. It became a slowly growing divide, taking away the vitality of our beautiful love leaving behind shrivelled and dry husks. It was the poison that ruined our forever. It slowly turned loving words to sharp barbs and small disagreements to long ugly fights. It was the chockhold that snuffed out our romance.


Timeless, 1 of 3


Time; such a funny notion, an irony for me, for us. A bundle of tangled strings and hopes with our relationship intermingling in its flow. When we were young, we didn’t care about something as trivial as time and as we grew, it was meaningless because for us, timeless was what defined our friendship, not smeared, untouched by the hungry grasp of those moving hands of the clock. For as long as I could remember, yours was the first face I saw, just outside my window, riding that yellow bicycle up and down our lane, yelling at me to get up and come to ‘plway’ with you, and who was I to refuse my sunshine ? I remember rushing past everyone in the house, forgetting that I was still in my nightclothes. I didn’t care, because you were there, waiting, quite impatiently I might add and I never ever wanted to make you wait. Summers flew by like the wind that rushed past us when we rode our first bicycles down that favourite slope and our friendship bloomed like those bruises you bestowed upon my shins. We suffered from your Barbie and Ken phase to my awesome ninja make believe games, our friendship survived those silly tantrums and thrived when you bestowed my blushing cheek with a kiss from your puckered lips. From the first day of school and through our first girlfriends and boyfriends, you were there and so was I. We were always there for each other and it felt that time stood still when we were together and moved slowly and painfully only when we fought. I could never be angry with you for long, you were too important, too precious for me to even comprehend your absence. It was the last year of school and something did move between us, the strings of time pulling our hearts together, because each time you were near me, my heart beat faster than before, your smiles affected me and suddenly I understood how little time I had, to tell you, that something was very wrong or perhaps something was very right and for the first time I understood what exactly it was that made you so special, that I was falling deeply, that I was in love, with you.



Do you Love me?


“Do you Love me?”, there it was out in the open. When I look back I still feel those butterflies of mixed emotions I felt when these words tumbled out from my lips. It wasn’t like I couldn’t ask, it was more like the time wasn’t right, certainly not with you breathing into my neck while I sat on your lap as you played our song on the piano; my favourite one which you wrote for me. The ardour with which you kissed me made me perceive so many emotions simmering behind your eyes. Was any of it love? Should I have let you have me without knowing where we were going? The dull pounding of the rain outside couldn’t drown out that one question, which was many times on the tip of my tongue, just waiting to be asked especially when you made me feel that you cared enough, when you made me feel alive in so many ways. I always fooled myself to believe, that I wasn’t affected by you, that I was incapable of love when I did, I loved you so much that I couldn’t get you out of my system, you were there in my blood, your sweet words ringing in my heart, each touch burning me, brighter with so much of passion. I would always want more of you, especially now when you broke down all my walls with a mere glance and undressed all my fears, so that I was bared to you, with all my vulnerabilities out in the open. Did you want me? Did you have a need for me, as I have for you? So I couldn’t help myself but ask you the one thing I even denied myself from ever wanting to hear, “I just want to know,” Now be brave, just this once, please, please say that you do, “Do you Love me?”

Because I do.


A Day in Life


Dozens of ice-cream, too much of cold drinks and everything that was next to “prohibited” for me otherwise have become my most hogged on items since last week. I generally don’t get to enjoy these things as I attract the cold virus each time I have them. If I’m not lucky enough, breathing problem tags along with these nice coolers.
But ever since last week, I have been extremely fine. Call it the call of the season or change in immunity for good due to travelling, or maybe exercising daily, I have been alright. Oh wait, make it “had” because “alright” is not the case today. I have been coughing since morning and I expected my illness to be restricted to cough but my stupid conscience wanted me to attend extra mechanics lecture today i.e. on Saturday, so my troubles have gotten doubled and now I don’t just have cough, I have cold and sneezing as well, my sweet nose bearing all kinds of paranoiac embarrassments if you know what I mean.
My stop arrived and I moved out with my bag, a little leisurely since it was the last stop. Do you remember that scene from The Mummy Returns where in a small army of Human soldiers has to fight a huge gigantically enormous army of scary looking erectly approaching running dogs? In the movie the humans are lucky enough to be surprised at the sight of them getting vanished. Unfortunately the movie Life had a bad surprise for me. While I adjusted my bag loads of ladies jumped inside the train to fill up the empty seats and loads jumped out to save themselves from the seat hungry Aunty wrath who also carried my bag along with them. So it was me trying to army my way out and pulling my bag towards me and ladies blatantly ignoring my hardship and shouting at each other anyway. As I swam my way out a girl used my neck as a prop to rest her invading nails on to move out ‘cause yeah, skin be a multipurpose gadget. I looked behind and all I saw was the crowd getting. Taking a deep breath I sat on the seat opposite to the train and watched the train take speed. Funny how life moves; so fast; so soon. In just less than 30 seconds I almost survived an apocalypse (as it’s called in the local train dictionary) I looked around a little; wiped my nose that fortunately got distracted for a while because of all that drama and walked up to my bus stop.
There’s a typical pattern I have observed in the past few years; whenever I have a tiring day I find my low frequency bus calling out to me and I have to run and board it; but fortunately it was at a distance today so I could walk my way through to it peacefully and board it.
The bus caught speed and I paid for the ticket to the bus conductor. My mandatory phone check was followed by a loud thud against the speed breaker the bus went over which led to me loosing grip over my phone. It fell down and I bent over to reach out for it; but it wasn’t there anywhere near it’s fallen spot. I noticed a tiny crevice present at the adjacent side of the seat end. The phone must have crept out of it. The bus halted in traffic luckily and I carried my bag out, rushed towards the side of the road to locate it. I saw the bus pass by me and a few men pointing towards the direction where the phone fell. There it was. One of my Lifes in this world. But to add to my maladies, it’s screen was fractured as fuck. There were million cracks over it. I paid another 40 bucks and reached home as I was too frustrated to wait another minute under the sky that almost killed me and my precious phone today.

Numerous complaints that were at the tip of my tongue on entering the house traversed back when Mum surprised me with Mishti Doi and it literally felt like heaven on my tongue. All my problems just minisculed over the entirety of the delight I felt having it.
Meanwhile my Dad examined my phone and the next thing I knew was my phone looked even better than before! Apparently the fractures appeared on the tempered glass which I had forgotten was fitted on my phone!

At night I couldn’t help but appreciate the ironies of the day. The most Chaotic day of my life had it’s own charm; at the end, it left me smiling.


Maybe my broken pieces are not made out of glass. Maybe they are maybe out of seeds so I can find someone who likes flowers, and is willing to grow them again.

-JM Wonderland

JM Wonderland has had an interest in writing since she was 13. She lives in central Florida with her family and says she has all the characteristics of an INFJ. “When I don’t have my head stuck in a book you can find me on social media.” She says.