He drives the Jeep Wrangler convertible on the shores of the private beach. It’s hard for him to focus with all the noise from his friends, and the music thudding from the car stereo. They are having a time of their lives. It had been a long time coming, and now, the band seems to be gaining ground. Making their mark in the entertainment industry.
Ted hits the brakes and the Jeep comes to a halt, splashing sand on the hotel’s parking lot.
The four fun thrillers jump off the Jeep, exchanging smiles and much laughter. The orange clad sunset makes for a serene background as they walk, leaving the calming sea behind them. Later that night they would perform as the main act for a beach party event.
They each head to their rooms to freshen up and meet for a sundowner before practice. Ted opens the door to his room and takes a few seconds longer to enter as he fetches his iPhone in the left pocket.
He strolls in, scrolling the screen and calls his girlfriend, Tabby. The phone immediately goes to voice mail. He leaves a message, ”Hey Babe, sorry I missed your calls, was out with the band, just got back. Call me when you get this” There is a WhatsApp message from her. A six-minute long video. Just when he starts playing it, Jack the drummer knocks at his door.
“Hey Ted, practice begins in fifteen. No time for a sundowner today,” Jack’s voice echoes down the hallway.
He watches the video for a few seconds, [Hey Love, how’s Seychelles kicking? I need to te -] then tosses the phone on his bed and heads to the shower. He tells himself he will watch the video after dressing up, only thing is he postpones doing it. Same way he has been avoiding Tabby’s calls and messages, telling himself he is too busy to do it now.
He walks out the shower and stands in front of the glass wall overlooking the beach. He thinks about Tabby and how lately, he has felt detached from her emotionally. Every time they talk, they end up fighting over something. It’s probably the reason why he’s been avoiding her calls and messages.
He thinks about the band, the month long tour they had been doing and how he has sunk himself deep in work, trying to numb all the emotional stress he is going through. He thinks about the girl from the club last night. How they kissed and halfway through, he turns away. Ashamed of himself for cheating on Tabby.
He wishes Tabby was by his side. Things would be better that way.
Moments later, he walks into the reserved soundproof room for practice. He holds the Gibson bass guitar in his hands ready to jam on. Mark, the lead singer had not shown up yet, so they wait for him.
He checks his phone again and finds a text message. This time from Tabby’s younger sister. [Ted, we need you here, Tabby is not well. Currently at Nairobi Hospital.]
For a second, everything freezes.
Hours later, he dashes into the hospital room. He is panicked. Tabby is lying on the bed, her back slightly elevated as if trying to sit up. He sits next to her and hugs her. She looks weak. Many questions run through his mind. He stares at Tabby’s sister for answers.
Tabby holds his hand softly and tries to curve a smile on her face. ‘It’s okay Babe, I’m here.’ Ted reassures her. She closes her eyes and sighs softly.
Ted takes the opportunity to talk to the sister. They walk to the doorway and whisper through a conversation.
‘What happened?’ Ted asks.
‘She’s not well Ted. The Doctor says it was a panic attack. That she’s going through a depression.’
‘A depression? How comes?’
‘Can I be honest with you?’ The sister asks, looking somewhat downcast and ashamed to look him in the eyes. ‘It is mainly because of you Ted. She has been a loner since you left. Battling life alone. She lost a best friend!’
Ted seems overcome by shame. He folds his palms to fists then unclenches them. He is lost for words.
Tabby’s sister continues, ‘you need to fix this Ted, things can’t go on like this. She needs you.’ She places her hand on his shoulder, gently pressing in her next words, ‘I’m only telling you this because she might not be able to do it herself. Fight for her.’
‘Okay Tesh, loud and clear. I’ll fix this.’ Ted says to her.
They hug briefly and Tesh excuses herself. He stands there unconsciously analyzing everything he had just heard from Tesh. He knew this day would come, though he was not sure when.
He knew his next move absolutely, without a single bit of doubt. It was time to make the call. He pushed the door open and walked up to the hospital bed as Tabby silently gazed at him.
He sat down and held her right hand in both his hands.
‘Babe, I don’t want you to talk, I just need you to listen, okay?’ Ted started off. She nodded and he continued.
“I’m leaving the band. It’s the one thing that has kept me away from you and though I cannot undo what’s already happened, I can make things better. You mean more to me than anything else in this world. I can’t lose you, Babe.’
He sees tears well up, smiles at her and kisses her forehead.
He stares deep into her eyes knowing just what she means to say because her eyes don’t lie.