Read time: 20 mins

Road Trip and Fall

by Demoy Lindo
4 August 2023

All a go on, it look as if they never want me to come.

Hey Jermaine, we did plan a road trip for this Saturday. Let me know if you want to come. I stare at the text message for a while.

I don’t see why Charlie had to send me that text directly when we have big friends’ group on WhatsApp, and I never see a single message ‘bout any trip drop nor fell. It as if them feel I can’t sense the malice them been keeping. As if they think I don’t notice the hate that flush their face after every laugh. Charlie the only one that try to at least ask me how me lectures went when I join up with them under the gazebo at campus; the next three girl just stay silent like them been eating glue. I can never understand you know, how girl pitney love keep malice so – I feel is that why God make Eve out of a rib: woman is defined by having a bone to pick. Well, in truth it just two of them a girl, the other one say him is a boy. But sometimes the way him bend up him hand when him yass girl-ing I can swear it set like a G; he cream him hair straight like L, and then him ugly face that broad like the letter A just drop right in the centre. Look on him, and all I see is one big gal. Sick me. So, yes, three girl them carrying malice. Over a simple little thing too. We used to be a close group until I decide to look Charmaine. That’s the pretty one in our friend group. The waist, the lips, the eyes – mighty God, if anyone should look like Eve, it’s she.  Only reason I tolerate the broad face one is because them convinced them is best friends. Charmaine and I were close like bench and behind. The two that the other three would always be leaving alone to give us space. One late night they gave us a little bit too much space, and space it was indeed because boy, I did see the stars and feel the oxygen getting sucked out my body. She had a hard time breathing too, but for different reasons. Then she find out that I had a little thing with another girl on campus, and boy, she take it to heart and beyond. She not even me girlfriend yet, but she have it to say I was cheating. Woman? Explain to me how you cheat on someone that you not even in a relationship with. She saying we were basically in one and call down her next two friend on me so they can harmonise in telling me how wrong I am like them is the I-threes. Charlie in front of them saying ‘Let’s get together and be alright’, trying to calm the situation. Cause big argument. Because the broad face gal, like him did want me box him face into common a after him carve out a good amount of the flesh on me forearm. Then, with him chin tuck poshly to his neck, the mongrel look me right in the eyes while him pick me skin from under him long filthy fingernails. Animal. If Charlie never hold me, I goodly box him face out a the alphabet completely. So yes, simple little thing. I apologise and everything because I truly love that girl, and she did say she forgive me. But after that, friend group get silent. Couple weeks well now, and the only thing sent in group was some news warnings about possible hurricane and some fool-fool chain message that the next girl send. That next girl? To be honest, I don’t even know where she come from or when she appear, but I know it’s five of us: me, Charlie, Charmaine, big gal and her. I think she name Aaliyah. Skinny little girl with glasses always taking about some Japanese cartoon.

I wonder when them plan this trip. Must be one of the evenings I decided not to hang out with them because every time I see the big gal, I feel like my wounds want open into lips and ask me if me really not getting retribution. So not one day this week did I go under that gazebo. I go straight to my yard after the last lectures, a little house I rented two taxis away from college campus. It’s conscience a bite Charlie like how the mongrel almost bite me? Make today, big Friday evening, you making me know that you plan trip for this Saturday? Not even could say ‘tomorrow’? I don’t want nobody sorry for me.

Sorry, having a girl over tomorrow. I type quickly. Knowing full well the only thing I having over tomorrow is my clothes over the line.

Think about it bro. The group been moving shaky since the thing happen. It’s a good thing this to take our mind off it and move on. A nice little beach trip.

Beach trip. Well, I wonder if I can find some alone time with Charmaine and set things right. Maybe find a nice little spot we can have some space again and make peace, you know? Bury the hatchet with my ten toes in the sand like a tractor. You know what? I make up my mind that this trip I will talk some sense into her. This trip, I will make her fall in love with me again. Just watch me. ‘Cause I sure that girl meant for me. God, I swear, if I don’t get this girl, make lightning strike and a man drop dead right in front me. Only then could I believe that she not for me because I know she the one. I read Charlie message but don’t open it. I can’t reply too quickly else he’ll think I have nothing doing.

Alright man. Since you asked. I just called the girl and explain to her, so I’m set. I reply forty-seven minutes later.

Cool. He replies immediately.


I hear the car blowing outside my house at 7 in the morning. He did tell me last night they leaving early since traffic get bad when it past 8am. I never knew him mean this early, but I should have known. Charlie the type of guy to drive slower just so he can make it exactly at 7:00am instead of 6:57. I throw the sheet off me and wipe the crustaceans from my eye – like them manage to squeeze through from the beach in my dream when I drinking wine with Charmaine.

‘Soon come! I still have breakfast on the stove!’ I shout through the window and manage to spot the big gal on the front seat throwing him hand on him big fahrid with him big mouth open.

Man, I do the quickest bathe I ever bathe in my life and rush myself together.

Some minutes later, I join them outside. Charlie exits from behind the driver’s seat to greet me by taking my bag.

‘I’m really glad you could make it man.’  He shoot a smile that fading too quickly but that he try to put back each time it does.

‘Thanks for inviting me bro.’

He open the trunk and start a game of Tetris to try and fit my bag in. There is this one big pink suitcase that look like the block you never know how to set that always cause you to lose: I can just bet is the big gal own. I realise I packed too little; it seem they planning on staying the weekend.

‘You can sit on that side.’ Charlie point to the passenger’s side while he rush back behind the wheel, door slamming shut.
I take a deep breath after I hold on to the door handle. I can’t tell if the shaking coming from me hands or from the car starting.

I pull and drop myself inside while still staring right through the window like I leave something in my room.

‘Morning’, I say.

I hear a bright, warm ‘Morning’ chirp back at me. But what could cause this? Like the malice disappear the same time my wounds did. I immediately feel at ease and realise I sitting beside Aaliyah, separating me from Charmaine on the next end.  I also realise I only hear ‘Morning’ from them. I hear nothing coming from the front but the low volume of old-school reggae songs playing from the radio connected to Charlie’s phone.

‘Damn. We might be a bit late.’ He whisper under his breath, like a final prayer before the journey begins.

I never expect Charmaine and Aliyah to behave so normal. We open a few beers, and we talk and laugh while Charlie try to get us ahead of the traffic. Windows down, I watch as the wind comb through Charmaine’s hair while she try contain her chuckle. I remember why I liked her. Not that me ever forget. A rare beauty she is. We talk about every nonsense. Even the big gal on the front joining the conversation every now and then, when it has nothing to do with me. Charlie don’t talk much since his focus on the road, but I look, and I see a gentle smile on his face that been there for quite some time, and I know it’s not that he find overtaking or breaking stoplights amusing. He been doing a good job trying to keep us ahead of traffic. One time when I realise the car moving extra slow, I look and see this irregular-shaped orange hatchback in front of us. Nissan Leaf. Zero Emissions written a bit too proudly across its back end. Driving slow like it really just leaf, and is the breeze blowing it by, holding up all the traffic. Is the closest I ever see Charlie to getting angry though he still smiling. I feel the car make a jerk while he swings into the soft shoulder to go in front. We pass him, and is this white man we see sitting in the driver’s seat. Windows up, but you can see right through it to see him on the phone arguing. Charmaine start laughing at him and Charlie. I start laughing too until big gal identifies him as a potential sugar daddy. The joke did done right there for me, but it’s there the next two start cackle. Even Aaliyah can’t control herself. She cute as well actually. Not pretty as me Charmaine, but with her glasses off she isn’t as hard to look at, not hard as it is for her to look at us. I decide to break the ice a bit more with her, ask her about one of those Japanese rubbish she been watching. She start tell me about some Titan this and Samurai that.

‘That the one you were telling us about the Wednesday?’ Charmaine ask her.

She tell her no. It’s the one she sent about in the group last night when the new episode came out. My eye manage to catch Charmaine elbow gently nudge her side.

I not the smartest, but I know nothing send in that group ‘bout cartoon unless we name the hurricane that was coming one eye samurai. That mean they create new friend group without me. I look at Charlie’s face to notice his smile fading, confirming it’s true. I go a bit silent after this. I wonder if the rift between Charmaine and me too wide to fix. By now our beers are empty. I stare at the droplets in my bottle for a while, spinning it slowly so they all connect into one stream at the bottom. As if prompted by this, Charmaine take her two empty bottles and pass them to the front seat, where big gal store them in a plastic bag at his foot with all the other garbage. Aaliyah does the same. I reach my hand same place over his shoulder with my bottle and notice that nothing happening. I look over the next shoulder and see that him just staring through the window blankly; I frighten him don’t stick him tongue out and start bark at the cars we passing. I gently touch the bottle against him, and I see he do a little shrug with his shoulder, head still fixed through the window. It obvious him ignoring me. Even Charmaine and Aaliyah realise but can’t do anything other than sit there all awkward. Charlie is frowning by this point. I kiss my teeth and threw that raas bottle right through the window.

I hear it crash against the tar.

‘Watch yah! Look how him throw the bottle on the people them good up highway!’  the big gal shrieks from the front. Is now you seeing the bottle?

‘You can’t do that, Jermaine!’ Aaliyah stares through the back glass as if trying to see where it land, when I know she can barely even see the back glass to begin with.

I tell them calm down. It’s not the first time that road seeing bottle. Them start to harmonise again, and I make sure I answer each and every chirp they chirp. Charlie just stay quiet, listening to his music, trying to beat traffic same way; I don’t know why he don’t try control him three little birds. Well, two little bird and one big John crow.

‘Hold on. Hold on little, Charlie!’ Big gal tapping against his shoulders.

Charlie just now noticed the car signaling to him. An orange car. The Nissan Leaf.

We both pull over.

‘I realised you guys recklessly threw a bottle out.’ The white man walk up to our window.

Charlie try to reason things out with him in a way that the conversation would end quickly, but the white man stand up there for a good minute lecturing us about the environment and the importance of recycling. How we need to take care of our country. Charlie sit behind the driver’s seat pretending to pay attention, but the shaking in his leg make me realise him instead more concentrating on all the traffic he cut out just going right back in front of him. Just when Charlie finally getting ready to deliver his ‘I’m sorry sir; it won’t happen again’, I hear the man say it puncture him tire, and this is when I see Charlie finally turn his head and stop shaking and turn the key so the car do the same. He step out and take a look at the tire; I go out with him. Big gal still stay propped up in the front seat. Not surprised he don’t know that whenever something happen to a car, it is ceremonial that all the men step out, even if to do nothing more than comment on the weather when you have no clue what to do. This the first I hear of glass bottle puncturing tire. This man making it look like it our fault he never buy a sensible car. It really must make out of leaf. I apologise to white man. Tell him I never mean for it to hit his tire. His face never seem too happy with my sorry. He start going off about how he is going to be late for his meeting since he don’t have a spare and going need to stop at mechanic. Charlie explain that he didn’t have the trunk space to pack a spare either, but he open his wallet and offer him half of what was inside.

‘I don’t want your money, lad. Just be more careful next time.’

The white man march back in his car and slam the door shut, slowly making his way to the nearest mechanic on the toll.

We go back in our car. Silent. Nobody say a word for a few moments well. I only wondering what going through Charmaine head after that. Probably not me. Charlie sigh. He tell us that the traffic on the main road will be too much. If we drive on it, we not making it there until after 1pm. I not even remember it was this early in the morning with how dark the sky get. It probably going to rain soon.
‘But, nuh your place this we reach, Kevaughn?’

Who name so?

‘Yes’; I hear big gal answer, ‘my area this.’

‘So you don’t know any shortcut we can use to cut through all this?’

‘The road that we used to use before they build this nice highway is still there, but that road aint roading.’

‘What you mean?’

I never knew we going to big gal’s habitat. Apparently, him live somewhere near a river that lead down to a nice seaside spot. It must be why him bring down him entire accoutrements from campus. He start telling us how bad the road is. Particularly one terrible corner that accidents happen there almost every week because of how it narrow. Say it never always used to be that small, but sometimes when rain fall it take a piece of it and carry it off, like when little pitney pass pretty flowers. Charlie ask him how him would manage if the hurricane was to actually come here instead of just pass by, and boy, is the most sense I ever hear the gal talk. Say that government don’t care about up there. The roads that the white people might drive on get all the care and attention, but our road could drop a river bottom and rotten before them care. It’s as if is the tourist place, and we don’t live here.  I know this true because it’s the same where I come from. Charlie ask him if it really safe to drive there. Him say yes, just make sure once you coming from this side, you blow your horn when you going round the corner; there’s no road sign to say that, but everybody who familiar with the area know that one little rule – just remember that corner. Charlie continue creep in the traffic until big gal tell him where to turn off. As soon as him come off the main road we could tell. I too familiar with the way how bad road turn car into beehive with the road like a mangy black bear shaking all the honey out you pocket, with repairs you soon have to sort out. Whole time I sitting here wondering what to say to Charmaine. Like the little time Charlie and I outside talking to white man, they take out some glue again, share it up and enjoy. I don’t even get the chance to have a good conversation with her yet.

‘I realise your arm is alright now’, I hear her say above the buzz. Like she reading my mind; I know we have some special connection.

‘Yeah, but I would prefer if it didn’t happen to begin with.’

I hear a chuckle coming from the front seat. This fish.

‘Somebody tell you joke?’

‘Jermaine.’ I feel Charmaine grab me hand. ‘Don’t bother with it.’

‘What you mean don’t bother with it? You don’t see the big gal laughing after what him do to me hand?’
‘Who you a call big gal?’ Turn round a stare in me face. ‘Say it again if you bad.’

‘Then what you be, Big Gal? What you going do?’

‘Jermaine!’ Aaliyah staring me dead in the face.
Why them talking to me? They don’t see the big gal threatening me? Why they don’t talk to him? I used to think it’s because them his friends why they always jump on his side. But I realise this not the case at all. It’s pity. Not even them don’t take him seriously. So whenever I respond to his foolishness, I’m the bad one. The same way if a four-year-old stab you, nobody expect you to take a knife and stab them back.  But not today. Today he could be toddle, toddler or toddlest; him getting a knife in him neck.

I continue looking him dead in the face and call him dutty gal more times than there is pothole in the road. Him stay on the front a throw all kind of arguments. How me a liad. How he should have grab me neck instead of me hand. How I don’t know to keep me mouth shut. How I can’t keep me crotches under control, like me a dog. If it never one thing, I just reach me hand around the front seat and strangle him. If it never be that killing a girl’s best friend isn’t the best way to have her fall in love with you. By now, Charlie reaching the corner that him get warning about. But the warning never do it justice at all. The road look like it twist around a big rock trying to be a mountain, blocking vision from whatever is on the other side of the curve. Then the edge of the road even worse. Serrated like it’s the teeth of some rabid predator, a road that definitely tasted blood before. I don’t know when we reach so high up, but I can look through my window to see the roadside just make a steep curve into what look like a riverbed a good hundred metres down. Up until this point, Charlie still don’t say a word, but I know this man don’t just drive with him foot alone. It’s like him keep him emotions tied up in him shoes too, and from the speed the car going I can tell him boot packing a lot of anger. Like it get a bit too heavy. We approaching the corner, and I don’t feel him slowing down at all, and there not even a guard rail on this road except some small metal railings at the tip of some of its canines. By now everyone realise the speed him going, and I don’t even remember what the last insult was or who was grabbing on me hand telling me calm down; I just know everyone now quiet and taking turns looking at Charlie, then the road.

‘Slow down little deh Charlie…and re-remember to blow your horn’, big gal stutter.

But it’s like him never hear a word.



We take turns shouting out his name, but it’s like he can’t hear any of us.

‘Slow down! Charlie!’ is the last thing I hear.

I see Charmaine shaking his shoulders from the back seat. I close my eyes. I feel a big jerk. Tire skid.


I fly my eyes back open quick to see us miss a taxi just by an inch that was coming round the corner. The taxi man flinging some bad words at us that curve the corner almost as fast as we just did. I take a minute to ensure me alive. I realise everyone doing the same thing. Aaliyah eyes still shut, like in her mind, she still dead. Big gal pressing himself back to the seat with one hand on the car door and the other on the radio, taking deep breaths. Charmaine eyes just wide open, sunken in. Charlie keep driving like nothing happened, dodging the potholes.

‘Dear Fada…look how Jermaine almost make we crash.’
I take a good second to comprehend what big gal just said. Before I could even explain that there is no second steering wheel and gas pedal on the back seat, I hear Charmaine stop him. Don’t bother with it, she tell him. Fiercely too, though she still in shock. We all still wondering how we didn’t drop off the cliff. Charlie still don’t say a single word, like him feel his last name is Chaplin. By now the clouds popped open, and he just turn up the radio to combat the cat and dog falling on the car roof.

‘You alright Charlie?’ I ask him.

‘Man, I starting to regret inviting you to this trip. It was a bad idea, I realise.’

That the first comment coming from the front of this car that actually cut me. Make me realise all big gal been giving me all along were scrapes.

‘I never want this either you know, Charlie. If it wasn’t for this, I tell you I would be at home right now a cuddle with a girl in this rain ins—’

‘So why you don’t go do that then?’ I hear sling from the corner of the car. Charmaine. Looking me dead in the face.


‘If you can be home with girl, then why you don’t do that?’

I look at her long enough to see the hate squirming from her face, like maggot when you rub salt on old meat. I still can’t believe is she just say that. Maybe Charlie right, coming on this trip is a bad idea. This make no sense.

‘Charlie, stop the car.’

He try telling me she not serious. I just tell him again. He pull over. I go out in the rain and slam the door shut behind me. I open the trunk and take my bag out. When I realise Charlie not driving off, I start walking in the opposite direction. He get the message, and I see the car trail off, continuing its journey as it was intended.

Eventually, some old guy see me soaking in the rain and pick me up, asking me what me doing walking in this storm. He driving a van that look almost as old as him. I explain I was to be on a trip with friends while I take the newspaper he offering me to spread on the seat I sitting. He ask me how far me going, and I tell him he can let me off at the main road. Then he tell me, especially in this rain, that road must be blocked with traffic in these hours. By now we approaching the same wicked corner that terrified us. I tell him we almost crash there, and him say he not surprised. He know about many people, even friends, who lose them life here. Say it’s from him used to go primary school it look like this, and government can never fix it, even though it the only route we have in and out of this place. I look at how he move towards the corner and can tell he is a regular to this area. But it’s like a bad omen; something about this corner just still make me feel unse—

I suddenly seeing just blackness.

‘Hey! Hey! You alright?’ I hear the old man voice fading in, shaking me shoulder. I have a small pain on me head and realise I bumped it into the dashboard and went out for about five seconds. I look around to figure out what happened, and realise we met with an accident. On this same corner. We get hit right into the stone mountain bordering our side of the road. I hear the old man cussing about why the man didn’t blow his horn. I look to the other end of the road and see a car with a huge dent in its side luckily pressed against one of the few metal railings on this corner’s carnassial. A few metres up or down, and the car would drop right off this cliff. I squint my eyes together to see through the dense rain and realise it’s an orange car. A Nissan Leaf. Through the clear windows, I see the white man sitting unconscious with his head against his steering wheel. Mighty Father, I hear the old man sigh next to me while reaching on the back seat for an umbrella. I ask him what he going to do. He shrug his shoulders and exit the vehicle. I go out as well, standing in the rain. It falling heavy like stress. When the old man check his own car, he notice only a scratch on the front end. He looking at the orange Nissan Leaf now. ‘You think he still alive?’ By the time I ask that, we hear this cracking sound. The metal railing that dampened the crash raise up the piece of the road that it dug into, and we realise the crack it create spreading out rapidly, like how the lightning path through the rain, until we just see the orange car slide away and vanish with that entire piece of the road it was on. Me and the old man just look. Standing frozen. As if we just start feel the cold of the rain. Standing silent. As if we just start listen to it. Hear it telling us Shhh. We never shared our names, and we now have no intention to. He went back in his truck and drove off, and I continue walking. Looking for a next car I can hitch a ride with.

The road was fixed shortly after.

About the Author

Demoy Lindo

Denoy Lindo, born in Portland Cottage, is a 21 year old Jamaican poet, writer and Victician. Currently a student at the University of the West Indies, he first stepped into the scene of literature when he was awarded the Jamaica Poet Laureate Prize in 2020. Demoy has since been published in a few journals, including […]