Linda was being her usual bitchy self.
“I asked for a chapman and you brought me this? Are you deaf or something?” she practically screamed at the waitress.
She was not called a drama queen for nothing.
The poor girl tried to apologise and even offered to change the drink but Linda was having none of it.
She went on a tirade about waitresses who never listened to one’s order but brought whatever ‘they fancied as if they know better than the customer! And don’t get me started on how slow they can be in their service. Chidi, ” she said, to her boyfriend on her right. “Why did you bring me to such a useless place?” she fumed.
He shrugged. “I didn’t bring you here. You insisted on tagging along, remember?”
“I wonder how he copes with her,” Kingsley, a friend in our group whispered to me.
I shook my head, wondering the same thing. I would go nuts if I had to spend a whole day with her, I thought grimly as I took a sip of my chilled .beer.
It was Saturday night and the four of us, who often hung out together most weekends, had ended up at the Coconut Grove, an open air bar at Lekki. It was my first time there though Kingsley and Mark had been there before. It was by the lagoon front with cool sea breeze blowing in. A live band even performed some nights to spice things up.
Usually, we four, all friends went out together for our weekend fun but that evening, Linda, for reasons best known to her had insisted on coming with us.
“I don’t trust you guys once you’ve had a few drinks, ” she said, eyeing her boyfriend in a suspicious manner.
All entreaties by Chidi for her to stay back home fell on deaf ears. So, here she was with us, spoiling the mood for us, of what should have been a great Saturday night outing.
“Is the band not playing tonight?” Mark asked.
“Is it the band you want to see or the lead singer?” Kingsley said teasingly.
Mark made a face at him as I turned to Kingsley.
“Are they that good?” I asked him.
“You wait and see for yourself,” he said in a mysterious manner.
He had hardly finished speaking when a man walked on the stage at the far end of the bar and introduced the band.
I watched with some curiosity as the band members took their places and began to play.
Then the lead singer, a slim lady dressed in an all black outfit- a Tshirt and black jeans- started to sing and I sat up straight in my chair.
You see, I love music; my vast collection of songs in CDs, laptop, phones and other other devices, attest to that.
I have heard some great songs and voices in my time. But nothing prepared me for that voice that night.
I don’t know how to describe it…you know the kind of song/voice you hear that transports you from the mundane to a place of peace, harmony…and love? Where you don’t feel any pain? Where you are at peace with the world?
That was how I felt. I forgot everything else but that voice. I did not know where I was or who was with me till I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Tobi! Tobi! Wake up!”
I turned round to stare at Kingsley who had a mocking look on his face.
“I see Ruby has cast her ‘spell’ on you,” he said with a smirk.
So, that was her name, I thought as my eyes wandered back to the stage. I watched transfixed as she moved sensuously to the music, wondering how such a powerful, captivating voice could come out of such a small, slight body.
“She has a wonderful voice. She should go professional with a voice like that,” Mark, who seemed to be as enchanted as I was with the singer, remarked.
“What’s so special about her voice?” Linda scoffed. “Her singing is annoying. Sounds like noise to me.”
“It sounds like noise because you’re tone deaf,” Chidi said.
“What?” Linda exclaimed, angry eyes turned on her boyfriend. “Are you calling me a deaf person?”
Chidi shrugged nonchalantly. “If you say so.”
“Honey, how could you say that to me? You have to apollogise for that!” she said.
“Why should I? It’s the truth,” he insisted.
Linda looked as if she was about to go into one of her screaming fits.
“Chidi, how dare you? I won’t. ..”
“Hey! Hey! You guys should chill with the marital squabbles!” Kingsley interrupted them. “We are here to catch fun, remember? Wait till you get home before you tear each other to pieces!”
That got him a furious look from Linda while Mark laughed.
“What’s funny?” she glared at him.
I turned my attention back to the stage, to get more of the magic that was Ruby’s voice…
After that night, the Coconut Grove became my regular haunt. While my friends often liked to sample other bars on the Island, for me it was that bar or nothing.
It was that voice, which kept pulling me back….
To be continued