Evolution: Chapter Three January 31, 2020 BeatriceShort storyFictionSeriesShort read Image from Pinterest.comAbout two weeks since my arrival in Asaba, and I was ready to shoot myself in the head from boredom. Apart from morning Masses and a few minutes of scintillating conversation with the cute priest I had a crush on, I had nothing else taking my time. I read, perused social media apps, and slept like a log of wood each day. I longed and ached for a change in my boring routine. It was June and the rain fell with vengeance almost every day, which prevented me from going to the cinema or Abraka town. My phone suddenly pinged, and I rushed to check the new message, but was disappointed at discovering it was a Whatsapp message from my dad. I dropped the phone at first, but curiosity and lack of something to do, pushed me to pick it up again. I opened the message to see an address and an invitation to witness Chief Ikenna’s private campaign to the outskirts of Asaba. I smiled involuntarily at the sweet gesture. Usually, fathers bribed their daughters with chocolates or clothes, mine bribed me with an invite to a private political rally. I quickly pulled on jean and a sweatshirt, in case it rained. I made my way downstairs, no one was home, and let myself out of the house. Everyone had a copy of the house key, so there was no need to keep the keys somewhere. My trip to the location took longer than usual because the roads were even worse than the norm because of the weather. Water and mud made the short commute unbearable. My shoes were a sorry sight by the time I got to the building for the private campaign. The building was nothing fancy, and it was so inconspicuous that one could easily miss it. Well, time to see what a private campaign is all about. *** My steps while walking back home that evening were slow and measured, seeing as I was lost in thoughts. I suddenly felt for the people of Delta state. Their constituency and social leaders were just greedy and culpable, with no remorse for their past misdeeds. No one deserved the kind of pain Nigerians were going through, no matter the kind of prejudice I felt towards them.Something hit my leg and brought me out of my reverie. It was a soccer ball, being chased by a group of half-naked kids. Their feet were spattered with mud but the happiness and innocence on their faces was what caught my attention.The oldest one among them quickly rushed towards me to get the ball. “Sorry aunty, sorry oh. No be say we see you oh. Abeg no vex.” “I am not angry, but are you guys not cold?” They all shook their heads. “How come?” “We are used to it actually.” One of the younger ones answered in perfect English. I simply stood there staring at them like an idiot before I finally got an idea. I signaled for them to come closer to me and they were wary. Such suspicion! It broke my heart. I raised my phone for them to see. “I want to take a picture with you guys.” They started coming forward slowly until they realized I wasn’t going to bite them. I raised the phone and took a selfie with them. I thanked them for the honor and they laughed and went back to their game. I decided to post the picture on Twitter with the caption ‘The Nigerian leaders of tomorrow. Great kids. #DeltaStateElections’ After that, I put my phone back in my pocket and quickly made my way home. *** “Mama will be coming tomorrow. She’s coming to Asaba for a thanksgiving party, so she wants to use the opportunity to see her granddaughter.” Dad started at dinner that night. I looked up at him in the middle of swallowing my bolus of Akpu and Egusi soup. “Oh, you mean your sister’s daughter? That’s nice.” Dad sighed audibly while Amaka was trying to stifle her giggles. I was acting dense on purpose, but in my defense, I had no reason to believe my grandmother would want to see me. “I meant you Nike.” “Why?” “Why? Because you’re her granddaughter, that’s why.” “Now, she thinks I’m her granddaughter? She didn’t think so when she called my mother barren and said I wasn’t child enough for her and for you.” I suddenly lost my appetite. Dad didn’t have a response for that, so I thanked them for dinner, packed my plates, and left the dining table. I went upstairs to my room and decided to take my mind off the unpleasant situation by scrolling through the feedback on the picture I posted that evening. If I thought my evening was ruined, I had something else in stock for me. Some of my old high school classmates and current college classmates were all over the comment section with horrible comments. “Let’s hope they don’t get bombed to pieces before growing up.” “Oh my God, Africa has internet?” “Wow, look at the state of the roads, so despicable like the people in the picture.” “Hey Nikki, you’re now an advocate for that shithole country?” “Why don’t you do us a favor and stay back there. We’ve had enough of you Nigerians coming to take over things in our country.” And those were the nicest comments there. I wiped the tears that made their way out of my eyes and switched off my phone for the night. I decided to just listen to music and go to bed. I felt pathetic because I could not even fight back; they were too many for me to handle on my own.