Too little, too late.
𝓣𝓸𝓭𝓪𝔂 𝓘 𝓴𝓲𝓼𝓼𝓮𝓭 𝓗𝓪𝓷𝓷𝓪𝓱 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓯𝓲𝓻𝓼𝓽 𝓽𝓲𝓶𝓮 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓲𝓽 𝓯𝓮𝓵𝓽 𝓼𝓸 𝓰𝓸𝓸𝓭. 𝓘 𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓴 𝓘 𝓪𝓶 𝓫𝓮𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓷𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓽𝓸 𝓯𝓪𝓵𝓵 𝓲𝓷 𝓵𝓸𝓿𝓮 𝔀𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓱𝓮𝓻. 𝓣𝓽 𝓴𝓲𝓷𝓭𝓪 𝓯𝓮𝓮𝓵𝓼 𝔀𝓮𝓲𝓻𝓭 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓘 𝓽𝓸𝓵𝓭 𝓱𝓮𝓻 𝓫𝓾𝓽 𝓼𝓱𝓮 𝓼𝓪𝓲𝓭 𝓲𝓽 𝓸𝓷𝓵𝔂 𝓶𝓮𝓪𝓷𝓼 𝓲'𝓶 𝓼𝓹𝓮𝓬𝓲𝓪𝓵. 𝓘 𝓯𝓮𝓮𝓵 𝓼𝓹𝓮𝓬𝓲𝓪𝓵 ........"
Bianca, a fifteen-year-old secondary school girl who was lively, smart, and full of life wrote on in her diary, a smile plastered on her face.
"Bianca, come on down, dinner is ready." Mrs. Alao, Bianca's mother calls from the foot of the stairs.
She hurriedly closes her diary and shoves it into her bedside drawer in case her mother decides to seek her out. Nigerian parents had no respect for privacy and she was sure her mother wouldn't hesitate to read her diary should she lay her hands on it.
Smoothing her skirt, she leaves the room and heads down the stairs to join her parents who were already seated at the dining table waiting for her.
She pulls out a chair and takes her seat beside her father, her favorite place for holding a conversation with him during dinner.
Mr. Alao, a devout Christian takes grace as is customary of him before any meal in the house.
"Daddy, did you see my test results? I left it on the table in your home as soon as I came back from school." Bianca begins excitedly, her mouth full of food.
Nodding his head, "I did my lovely daughter and as usual, you have made me proud. I know I shouldn't be saying this because you would even if I don't but, keep it up." He smiles at her patting her back with fatherly pride.
"What about the iPad you promised me, Daddy? When are you going to get it for me?"
"Don't you worry my dear girl, I would get it for you soon. Just have a little patience."
"Just give me a specific time, Daddy, all my friends have gotten it, I don't want to be left out." She presses.
Mrs. Alao who has been watching the exchange between them in silence chips in. "Enough of that, Bianca. Allow your father to eat in peace and take his word for it that he would get it soon. Where are your table manners? No talking while eating." She says authoritatively.
Mr. Alao exchanges a conspiratorial wink with Bianca and resumes eating.
After the dinner dishes have been cleared and washed up, the family retires into the living room to talk about each other's day and watch the news before bed.
Mr. Alao is seated in his favorite armchair, with Bianca's head rested on his lap and chatting away. "I want you to get something for me in my room, Bianca."
She sits upright looking to him for instructions. "What's that, Daddy?"
"Go into my room and get my briefcase, there's something I need to get from it."
"Okay, Daddy." She stands up and runs up the stairs and is soon back with her father's briefcase, she hands it over to him and takes her seat, this time beside her mother.
He opens the briefcase and withdraws a wrapped gift, he motions for Bianca to come and get it from him.
She walks curiously to him, collecting the wrapped item and looking to her mother for clues. She quickly tears it open and lets out an involuntary gasp upon seeing that the wrapped gift is an iPad in its box.
She runs to her father to hug him, squeezing him harder than necessary, almost choking him with love. "Thank you, Daddy. You fooled me into thinking you haven't gotten it."
He smiles at her picking his teeth with the toothpick in his mouth. "I told you I would get it soon, didn't I?"
Turning to her smiling mother, "did you know about this?"
"In fact, we went shopping for it together." Mrs. Alao replies nodding her head.
"You couldn't even give me a hint. You both conspired against me. Thank you too, Mummy. I appreciate you both."
"You are welcome, darling." Mrs. Alao replies.
"I have to tell Hannah about this, I am now officially an iPad owner."
"Speaking of Hannah, we haven't seen her in a while. I hope you both are not quarreling again." Mrs. Alao says moving to sit beside her husband.
"Not at all, Mummy. We were together all through the day. She even asked of you both."
Nodding her head approvingly, Mrs. Alao comments, "that's good, send her my regards tomorrow. You should invite her over one of these days. She's got a good head on her shoulders, and she's such a good influence. Make sure you stick with her, I don't want you moving around with the wrong people."
"I have heard you, Mummy, she would always be my best friend and you should trust that I won't keep bad company."
"We trust you baby girl and we know you would never let us down."
"Thanks to you both, so much and for my iPad too. I am going upstairs to my room so, it's good night." She bends down to kiss her parents one after the other before running up the stairs.
They shout their good nights after her retreating form, reminding her to pray before sleeping.
Mrs. Alao snuggles up to her husband, resting her head on his chest. "So, tell me about your day."
"My day was stressful but it's good to be here with you. I had lots of meetings today and I had to balance the books. Can you believe the accountant has been skimming off the company's account?"
"I am not surprised. I knew that boy was up to no good the first time I set my eyes on him. What do you expect from a young accountant that wears designers? His tastes are way too expensive for his salary. You know I had a similar issue with my previous stylist at work? I had to let her go when I discovered items were getting missing from the store. It's hard to find reliable help these days especially these younger generations, they like to spend but don't want to work. I blame the advent of social media for that."
"What has social media got to do with stealing?"
"Don't you see it?" She sits upright and takes her head off his chest, patting her head and adopting a confident sitting position like one about to give a life-changing presentation.
"See what?" He asks already starting to lose interest in the conversation. Inwardly he was already regretting his decision to bring up the matter, getting his wife to shut up when she decides to talk about a topic without sounding rude is a Herculean task. He decides within himself to agree with whatever she says to ensure her lecture ends quickly.
"You mean you don't see young people flaunting unexplained suspicious wealth on social media? An attitude like that makes others want to match up to the lifestyle they seek and resort to all manners of ill vices once they realize making an honest living won't fund such an expensive lifestyle. The behavior of the younger generation these days saddens me, you see them smoking and taking harmful substances and even have the guts to post it. I mean what message does that send? You begin to wonder where we went wrong as people. It's really disheartening, I tell you." Seeing her husband already dozing, she gently taps him. "Are you even listening to me?"
Letting out a yawn, "I am and I totally agree with you."
Unconvinced, "agree with me on what? I just caught you dozing. Am I boring you?"
"No, you are not. It's just that I am so tired from work."
"Okay, sorry. What do you intend to do about the thieving accountant?"
"I told my secretary to draft his sack letter for tomorrow, I couldn't deal with that today, I could barely stand on my feet when I left work."
"I hope he didn't embezzle too much. Won't it hurt the company?"
"He didn't actually, good thing I caught it in time. That's why I always make it a point of duty to painstakingly check through all the books."
"Thank God for small mercies."
Pulling her closer to him, "enough about me, how did your day go?"
Shrugging her shoulders, "it was okay. The business has been slow but we get by."
"You can always ask me for anything if you need it, you don't have to shoulder it all by yourself. I don't even understand why you need to work since I earn more than enough but you won't listen to me."
"Thanks, darling but I don't need anything yet. What would I be doing at home when you leave for work? I enjoy working and you should let me contribute the little I can to the family."
"Whatever you say, darling. We have been dragging this issue for years and I have not been able to change your mind, I know I can't now. As long as it makes you happy."
"Thank you for understanding darling. We should head on to the bed. I can see how tired you are already."
"You are right. Go on, I would join you. I just have to shut off the appliances and switch off the lights."
"Okay, darling." She stands up and makes her way up the stairs to the bedroom.
He joins her in the room shortly after to pray before sleeping.