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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blues For Ruby (5)

One Friday evening, about a week after I had angrily walked out on Ruby, I met up with Kingsley at our old 'joint' Coconut Grove. Going there brought back painful memories of Ruby but I just could not stay away.

The live band had just finished a number and were taking a break when I strolled in around 9pm.

Kingsley, who was already seated, waiting for me, was as blunt as ever.

"What's this I'm hearing? " he asked before I could even sit down comfortably.

"What?" I said. I knew where he was going but I feigned ignorance.

"You and Ruby- that you guys broke up. What happened? "

I shrugged and said:

"Things just happened."

"How?" he said, glancing up from the menu he had been checking to order some food. "You two were so into each other. I was expecting wedding invitations soon- not this!"

"Well, as they say, man proposes, God disposes," I cracked, trying to make light of the situation, even though the last thing I wanted to do was laugh. What was there to laugh about anyway when I had lost one of the most precious things in my life.

"What God?" he snickered at me. "He had nothing to do with this. I heard you were the one who ended the relationship."

"Didn't your mother tell you not to listen to gossip?" I said. I took the menu from him and checked out the bar's special for the day.

It was spicy catfish pepper soup with other dishes. The waiter came over and I placed my order for the pepper soup and beer, took Kingsley' s order as well then left.

I looked up to see Kingsley staring curiously at me.
"Are you sure you're ok, man?" he said.

"Why do you ask?"

He waved his right hand at me, a newly lit cigarette clenched between his fingers.

"There must be something wrong with you! Because what sane man would dump a girl like Ruby?" he said, his voice raised a little. "Do you have an idea how popular she's right now? Her music is all over the place, she's sought after everywhere for shows, companies plead for her to endorse their products. And you dump her?" He shook his head in wonder as if I had lost my mind or something.

"You see Kingsley, that's the problem!" I said heatedly. "Her popularity, her music and career. It overshadowed everything- our love, hopes and dreams. Infact, the whole relationship was getting buried under it all!"

He gazed at me in a quizzical manner.

"What are you talking about? As her man, you should be proud of her success and be happy for her."

"Of course I was," I insisted.

"So, what went wrong? Or is it jealousy? Of her success?''

I glared at him.

"What do you mean?"

"The male ego thing- some men don't like their wives/partners becoming more successful, popular or famous than them. So, did you feel threatened by her fame? Felt insecure?"

"It's not that," I said, shaking my head. "It's just..." I said and paused.

How do I put in words how I was beginning to feel being with Ruby in recent times? Especially since she found fame? The sense of being overwhelmed by it all? Being 'swallowed' up by all the hype that went with being a celebrity?

Don't get me wrong. When her music career initially took off and she started becoming successful, God knows I was proud and happy for her. It felt good that the little push I gave her at the beginning had brought great results in a short time.

But in the end, it all got too much. We lost ourselves. So, I had to take a step back so I could 'breath.'

Was that it or was Kingsley right? Was I feeling insecure at her increasing fame? Of all the male attention? Adulation?

Whatever it was, the deed had been done. It was the after effects that was the problem.

We had broken up but she was still deeply embedded in my heart. I see her face everywhere not just when I turn on the TV and one of her videos is playing but even in my dreams...

 And her voice! I hear it in my head like a CD on repeated play.

Especially our last time together at her house: her sad voice pleading with me not to leave her would haunt me for years to come.

"I love you, Tobi! Don't go! Please stay, baby! I'll do whatever you want. I''ll even tell Eazzy to cancel the planned tour. We can go on vacation to anywhere you want!Just stay with me! Let's talk and sort things out."

 By this time, I had hurriedly dressed and was marching angrily towards the door. She rushed after me and falling on her knees, grabbed my legs.

 "Don't leave me Tobi! I need you here with me!" she cried.

  For a moment, I hesitated, wondering if I should listen to her. But I knew it would not change anything.

  I stooped and pushed her hands away.

"Its too late Ruby. Bye!"

  And I had walked away from the house without a backward glance.

  How right she was! I never knew being apart from her would be so difficult or that my life would become so dull, drab, colorless without her  bright smiles and sultry voice to brighten it up.

Öh, Ruby! How am I going to go on without you?" I thought as I stared gloomily into my glass of beer.

"From the look on your face, I can see you could be regretting your actions already," said Kingsley. "It's  not too late man. She's just a phone call away. And you better be fast about it before she leaves for her tour next week.

The waiter returned with our orders of food and Kingsley called for more drinks.

"For my friend here," he said with a nod at me. "So he can get seriously drunk and forget his troubles!"


I stood behind the barriers and watched closely as the small group made its way towards the entrance. She was walking besides another lady who on closer look turned out to be Rume, her sister.

There was also her manager, Tega who was chatting with her as they walked and a few others in her entourage I didn't recognise.

Just looking at her made me realise how much I missed her. I almost called out to her but remained silent, simply watching as the group stepped in through the entrance of the airport departure lounge.

'I can't do this anymore,' I thought as I walked away from the barrier towards the car park. Suddenly, I knew what I had to do- Kingsley had been right- and thinking about it made me feel much better than I had felt in days....

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