Évadé (New Year Gwadafiction)

Summary: At 38, Jordan-Ella is unemployed, childless and without a fiancé. At 36, Yanis has only two priorities: his son and his business. She is looking for a direction in her life. He wonders about the path he has chosen. Will the New Year’s weekend mark a new beginning?

Word count: 11110 (6 chapters + 1 epilogue)

Author’s note: I’m publishing the first two chapters, then I’m leaving you a free download link because I think it’s more enjoyable to read that way. On the other hand, a feedback on the blog, on the social networks or by mail would be awesome.


The main characters are in their late thirties and are sexually active. Some of the discussions are about risky sexual behavior and the importance of practicing safe sex. Some of the sexual acts are described without going into detail. This isn’t an erotic story per se, but this short story may not be suitable for an audience under 15.

Read more: Évadé (New Year Gwadafiction)

Chapter 1 – Yanis

Monday, December 26th 


With his heart shaking like the ka vibrating on the last notes of a lewoz, Yanis sighs with relief. His locks and basketball stature allow him to maintain non-exclusive relationships, making these health tests a necessity, but his monthly condom budget should make reading them less agonizing. 

The fear of falling back into the black hole of betrayal brings back memories of the only time he tested positive. Chlamydia. Fortunately, his English had improved enough for him to turn on his autopilot mode while finishing the discussion with the doctor and mentally making a list of his partners to contact. Had he been an asymptomatic carrier for years or was the infection recent? As a married man whose wife was thousands of miles away, he preferred answer 1. His recklessness in his twenties made this version plausible. Nevertheless, the fear of facing answer 2 had made him spend the next three months imagining scenarios of THE discussion that did mark the end of his marriage. In any case, nothing beats the relief of having confirmation that he’s healthy. Two negative tests a year for the past three years. With the results received this morning, he’s ready to start 2023 with peace of mind. 

A glance at the oven ensures that the almost perfect breakfast mission will be complete. The sweet caramelized smell of pineapple cake flirts with the coffee he’s sipping from his “Best Dad in the Universe” mug. Looking back, the infection gave him the boost he needed to get his personal life back on track and aligned with his professional ambitions. After five years of hustling, he no longer needs to check his bank account with his inhaler in hand.

“Hi Daddy,” a quiet sleepy voice says.

Dressed in his Spiderman pajamas, Yénaël yawns loudly as he emerges from the hallway leading to the bedrooms and bathroom. His Great Iroko plushie under his left arm and his three-legged horse plushie under his right arm, he stumbles as he rubs his eyes. Twists frame his plump-cheeked face that demand two loud kisses as soon as Yanis takes him in his arms. Yénaël grunts but snuggles up to him.

Since his son started elementary school, Yanis enjoys even more every gesture of affection. He can still physically support Yénaël’s weight with just one arm, but not for much longer. As everyone keeps telling him, the years fly by. In the blink of an eye, he’ll be faced with a teenager who thinks he knows everything and will probably dodge his hugs, but Yanis will make sure he never doubts that his father will stay by his side.

“I’m hungry,” Yénaël says with another yawn, his morning breath whipping across Yanis’ face. 

“In that case, you help me set the table,” he says with a wide smile as he tries to put him down, but Yénaël frowns as he toys with his beard. “Kay ni?” 

Yénaël continues to examine him, even turning his head to the right, then to the left. “You’re turning into Santa.”

“Really ?” 

“Your beard has grey hairs.”

It’d be your own 7-year-old kid. To tell the truth, Yanis has been wondering for a few weeks if he should shave off the sculpted beard he’s had for the past ten years. Yénaël’s reflection tipped the balance in favor of yes. In any case, it’s past time to tell him the truth about Santa. But there’s no need to ruin the last meal of 2022 with his son.

“One, two, three,” begins Yénaël’s count as he sorts out the hairs.

Bouyon music from another apartment cuts off Yanis’ response. Unlike the countryside roosters, the neighbors at least have the courtesy to wait until 10 a.m. before starting to liven up the day. Humming a story about a big bandit seen at the club exit, his son starts dancing in his arms so Yanis puts him down and accompanies him, already preparing his apology to Annaëlle about why their son knows these lyrics by heart. But still… He updates his 2023-goal list written in his Note app.

  1. Stay healthy.
  1. Keeping Yénaël happy. 
  1. Moving into a neighborhood where playing bouyon music on a Monday morning is the exception, not the norm.


“That’s what I’m talking about. So fresh and clean,” Mickaëlle says as she admires her refreshed locks from every angle with a small mirror. 

Hiding a smile, Yanis crosses his arms. “You’ll still have to pay me…” 

“Of course! Who do you think I am?” 

“My little cousin who gets her favorite aunt and godmother, who happens to be my mom, to intervene to get an appointment at the last minute when I’m overbooked,” he retorts as he goes to the kitchen connected to the veranda where he’s set up Mickaëlle to do her hair. “Plus you’re making me drive all the way down to St. Claude.”

“Weren’t you the one who said you had a last-minute cancellation?”

“Well, that’s why I agreed,” he admits after washing his hands. He returns with a glass of maracudja juice. “Otherwise I’d have let you start 2023 with your hair looking like a mess.”

Mickaëlle rolls her eyes, removing the black cape and leaves it on the high chair. “That wouldn’t have stopped me from getting more numbers than you at the party on the 30th.”

Yanis bursts out laughing. “You gotta grow up.”

“Oh, come on now! You think I don’t know that you have at least five cuties ready to swoop in after a simple ‘whut you doing?’”

“Cuties? You spend too much time with your Martinican buddies.”

“But you don’t deny it, so I’m right.”

Yanis shakes his head without losing his smile. He brought down the number to two this year. Between the growth of his home hairdressing business and Yénaël, he only has time and energy for these little arrangements between consenting adults. 

Leaning on the veranda railing, he looks at the lush mountains draped in the night darkness. A fresh wind carries the song of nature. Maybe the setting would appeal to Yénaël… It wouldn’t be a big change from the Grands-Fonds he had always known with Annaëlle. But he would have to change schools or get up at dawn to avoid traffic jams, not to mention that he’d be far from Annaëlle’s family.

“Creating dating apps pays quite well,” he says, giving his back to the postcard landscape. The spacious four-bedroom villa feels all the more spacious for one person.

“Not as much as it should be, but I can’t complain. Sweetsiwo is still in its early stages,” Mickaëlle admits as she comes to join him with a Despé beer. “Peace of mind during your holidays back home is priceless anyway.”

Even if it means offending some misplaced family sensitivities. Mickaëlle has always been the free spirit of their family generation. Her sharp tongue has silenced any remark about her androgynous look since childhood. After graduating from high school at the age of 17, she went to Paris for her higher education with a one-way ticket and has been living her life as she wanted ever since. Gossips about her during Sunday family gatherings hadn’t prevented her from graduating from her engineering school and quickly finding a job in Canada. Yanis would never admit it, but she was the one who inspired him to hold on to his dreams when Annaëlle got pregnant, and then when he decided to get a divorce. Peace of mind, no matter what the circumstances, is truly priceless. 

Yanis toasts with Mickaëlle and finishes his drink in one go. “Well, it ain’t like I don’t want to stay, but I have to go back to Lapwent,” he says after giving her back the glass.

Hooks, combs, brushes, creams, small towels, he arranges methodically everything in his suitcase. The VIP salon experience at home is the selling point that has hit home with the fear of catching COVID-19 even after the 2020 restrictions got lifted. 

“By the way, should I book us a table for the Baimbridge Cho party?” she asks as she folds the high chair and table for him.

“I don’t know if I’m going yet.”

“Excuse me? There’s no better way to celebrate your birthday.”

“I know, but I’m busy.”

“This will be the last greatest party of the year and you won’t be there?”

“We only see you 15 days a year and you’re the one who has an opinion on the parties not to be missed ?”

“My point, exactly. I‘ll be there. You can rest assured it’s going to be a blast.”

“Honestly, the end of the year is super hectic,” he says as they walk down the stone driveway leading to the parking area about 20 yards away. “I’ve got one appointment after another.”

“And vyé nèg-la tired, I understand,” she comments as she stows the chair and table in the SUV’s trunk.

Yanis sighs at the provocation coupled with an innocent smile she throws at him. “I ain’t on vacation.”


“And I’ve my first client at 8:30 the next morning.”


“And I’ve a reputation to maintain.”


“And you know I ain’t into clubbing anymore.”


This kind of playful argument could go on for a long time when they were kids. Yanis ends it with a kiss on the cheek as a goodbye. “Remember to put on your bonnet when you go to sleep. Unless you still want to pay full price before you go back to France.”

“Send a message when you’re home.”

The hour-long commute allows Yanis to catch up on a podcast episode about entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. Celebrating his wins. Everyone explains why you should do it, never the how. It’s not for lack of thinking about it. A dinner in a fancy restaurant? A luxury item? He has already tried it and, despite the smile he shows to his loved ones, his heart remains as empty as a lambi conch stranded on the beach. As if the satisfaction of achieving a goal is an unattainable goal by default. 

The beeping of his car alarm matches the vibration of his smartphone in his jeans pocket. It’s the notification of a new online payment. Not only did Mickaëlle pay the agreed price, but she added a 20-euro tip.

See you Friday night?


It’s true that he needs to celebrate his wins. 

I’ll think about it…


Chapter 2 – Jordan-Ella 

Tuesday, December 27th 

“My sunscreen, my hat, my phone charger, my Switch, my blood pressure meds, my Switch charger, my masks, my hydroalcoholic gel… I feel like I forgot something,” says Grams Lala as she digs into her tote bag.

“Condoms?” suggests Grams Nini.

“That was the first thing I put in my suitcase.”

Eyes riveted on the RN 5 road, Jordan-Ella clears her throat to hold back her laughter. The 80’s zouk filling the car isn’t enough to cover the discussion taking place in the back seat. One thing she knows. What her grannies have to say, they’ll say without caring about privacy and political correctness.

When Grams Lala offered to live in their villa for her to get back on her feet after coming back to the island, Jordan-Ella thought she’d finally find a lifestyle without adrenaline or pressure. A few house chores, some grocery shopping, laundry, and taking them to their medical appointments… But instead of keeping company with two 60-year-old widows who’d stay home, she found herself being a chaperone.  Book club on Mondays, fitness on Wednesdays, movie club on Fridays, Sunday school on Saturdays and konpa tea parties on Sunday afternoons. Not to mention the nights they sleep over at their boyfriend’s house without even giving her the heads up with a little text message.

“My Switch games, my e-reader…,” Grams Lala keeps going. 

“Lube?” Grams Nini exclaims.

“Ah, that’s it! I had put it on my checklist, though. “

“Good thing I thought about it,” Grams Nini says as she pulls two small tubes from her wicker basket. “Enough to last the week’s cruise.”

“If anything, they must sell some on the boat.”

Jordan-Ella clears her throat again. Not a single day without her Grams making her question the desert of her social life. 

“Ah, that cough you’ve been dragging on for two months… You should put more honey in your morning tea, sweetie,” Grams Lala advises.

“This is no time to get sick. You need to be on top of your game for your birthday,” Grams Nini adds.

“Oh, it’ll be fine,” Jordan-Ella replies, “It’ll just be a little dinner with my girls.” 

Well, that’s the plan for now. Maintaining friendships as an adult requires a level of organization and luck that Jordan-Ella apparently doesn’t have. All the child-free outings she has proposed since her return to Guadeloupe end up with her going solo.  A sick baby, an unavailable babysitter, an argument with the spouse, there’s a long list of reasons for last minute cancellations that Jordan-Ella can’t say anything about without sounding like the unfair little girl demanding attention. She even programmed the “no worries” followed by a smile emoji as an automatic response. This invitation to dinner for her birthday has generated enthusiastic responses in their WhatsApp group. Especially since it’s at a restaurant where the reservation list can go up to a month in advance during school breaks. Until they’re physically in the same room, there’s no need to get excited. 

“Anyway, you have the villa all to yourself. Enjoy it for a while,” Grams Lala insists.

“I left condoms and lube in my bathroom, if needed,” Grams Nini adds.

Despite the smile plastered on her face, Jordan-Ella has to concentrate on dodging bitter memories of her last relationship. Is this really what her life has become? Having two elders as her first cheerleaders to resume her sexual activity. Since she isn’t looking for love for now. 

“It’s just a girl night out with a simple dinner,” she manages to say in a neutral but firm tone. 

In the rearview mirror, she sees Grams Nini and Grams Lala exchange a look, but neither of them dares to insist. The Kassav’ playlist cuts the tension as they launch into a karaoke session on the hits she learned during the Saturday morning cleaning sessions and family parties.


Single. 38 years old. No children. A selfie highlighting her melanin and her bright smile. Just one more click and her Sweetsiwo account will be created. Her finger sliding on the touchpad of her computer, Jordan-Ella still hesitates to press okay. Does she really want to start online dating? At almost 40 years old? Okay, it isn’t about her age. She knows couples who met on the Internet and built a solid lasting relationship. But where’s the magic of exchanging glances to know if the feeling’s mutual? The butterflies at the slightest physical contact during a discussion where you learn about each other? The discovery of a new body, the connection of desires ending in an explosion of pleasure that lights up your smile the next day and makes you anticipate the next meeting?

It all starts with the desire to spend time with the other person, and right now, she doesn’t feel like it. Jordan-Ella lowers the hood of her computer. About ten steps separate the terrace table from the hammock. Lying down facing the sea shining under the last rays of the sun, she lets herself be lulled by the murmur of the ocean. A new year starts in a few days and she still has no idea of the direction to give to her life. Her smartphone vibrates. The selfies of Grams Nini and Grams Lala in fancy evening wear make her smile. No doubt, they’ll collect some phone numbers tonight. Good for them. For now, Jordan-Ella just wants peace and quiet.

The goals set in her early twenties were clear: a successful professional career, a fulfilling marriage, and sweet motherhood. And in that order if possible. 2020 stopped her in her tracks. For the better, probably. She just needs to figure out the how. Her smartphone keeps her from spiraling into negative nostalgia.

Girls, did you see the party on Friday?


The photo attached to the message is a flyer for a party on December 30th.

Baimbridge Cho? Seriously?

-Dona B

I don’t know any of the DJs except for one. I bet it will be 80% of bouyon music.


It’ll be zouk and dancehall from the 90s/2000.


Jordan-Ella exhales slowly. It’s her birthday party and no, she doesn’t want to go to a club. She just wants to spend time with her friends. What wording would be the most appropriate without killing the mood?

Jordan should decide. It’s her birthday.

-Dona B

Thanks Dona.

We can have dinner and go to the club later.


That’s right. They can have dinner and go to the club without her. Jordan-Ella will just tell them that she has a headache and will get a taxi to go home. And everyone’s happy.

I’m in.


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