Sueanne Pacheco | Roundabout
Sueanne Pacheco is the author of Mrs. Langlois' House. She currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. She finds herself inspired by the time she spends with her family and friends, and by her observations of the experiences of women
Sueanne Pacheco, Mrs. Langlois' House, Author, Book, Where to Buy Mrs. Langlois' House, About Sueanne Pacheco




I escape to my home away from home – the ravine. I stand at the steady stream nestled between lush foliage and the canopy of blue sky. The warm breeze caresses my face. I watch the clear, gentle water ripple around pebbles, rocks and branches scattered about its path. The chirps of small birds announce their fun-loving presence. I look up. To my fledgling eyes, I’m not disappointed. Mid-way on the branch of a tree, a bright red male cardinal gives loving pecks to its sweetheart soft brown, female. I’m lulled into compassion to see a rare warm exchange between birds. I’m usually on alert to avoid dive bombs.

As I regard these lovebirds immersed in the ecstasy of their now, I’m struck at the irony of me. My morning walks are an adventure for me now. I’m hardly a true nature lover. I’m the one who runs from frogs, bees, and anything with more than four legs. Like the stream, I flow in and out amongst family and friends. Some family members are immovable and steadfastly claim “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.” While other family members seem fine with life dictating who they are. Me, I’m in between life. Here’s why.

I feel like I’m Sam, the sheep dog in the cartoon. You know, the part where his friend says,

“Hello Ralph.”

Then Sam takes a huge club and whacks the other sheep dog. Only it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Life is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No matter how hard I club unwanted events in my life, the concussion lumps keep coming. Sheesh!

I’m the youngest of four, and the only boy. You got it, three older sisters. I love them which got drilled into me by my deceased parents. Bone cancer left my mom in chronic pain. A heart attack relieved my dad from his broken heart because mom died sooner than they both expected. My oldest sister, Jada, pseudo ‘mom’ is annoying as hell but at least one of us still has their crap together. My second sister, Dr. Kay lives in small town Mono, and puts on airs of importance. I mean how important can you be in a town of fifty people. I exaggerate but if I hear “I’m a doctor” one more time, I’m using a surgical clamp on her mouth. Then, there’s my little sister Babita. The most difficult three syllables for me. The only noun to sputter out from me is Babi at the age of three.

Babi and I do everything together. Once, as kids, she painted the walls with peanut butter, I added jelly to make it a masterpiece. By the way, don’t bite or lick the wall. Plaster, peanut butter, and jelly really is gross. Plus, my chipped tooth knows this too. I’m the kid brother who squirted glue into her hair while she scribbled away in her colouring book. I’m the kid brother that cries for help to tie my shoelace and she’d do it for me (even though I can do it myself). Babi and I are one year apart, well, one and half. The point is she and I are close but not so much anymore.

A kitchen equals graveyard to Babi. She’s the sibling, if she wants to, she can push me out of the nest and let me fall to my demise. She doesn’t. She keeps me under her wing. I can count on her. Then one day she really needed me. Schmuck, I am. I grab the opportunity of a lifetime, fly to Vancouver to work as a Senior Communication Strategist for one year; ironic for a diagnosed dyslexic. Five years later, I’m back here in Toronto.

I study those two birds. They dart away. Why did I dart away when Babi cried for help? I stare down at my lean, five-foot ten-inch, dark hair, and brown-eyed frame reflecting in the ripples. I glance at my Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. I check my phone. I scroll to the saved text message from my sister Jada 3:33pm on April 7, 2017. ‘Nathan, come home. Babi needs you. Call me.’ Three minutes before as I stand on the conference stage to deliver the company’s new go to market product communication plan to five hundred employees. The applause vibrates through my chest. I walk proud off the stage. My cell rings again.

“Nathan, did you get my message?” Jada is frantic.

“Yeah. Something about Babi.” I snap.

“She’s been in a car accident. After she dropped you at the airport, her car got T-boned by a distracted driver. Doctor thinks she may not walk again.”

“Jada. I’ll be home in three days.”

“It’s Babi!”

“I know. This is big for me Jada.”

“Then stay there. Don’t bother.” Jada’s voice is cold.

I dream me and grieve that day like a roundabout. I shiver in the humid heat. I open the tracking app. After a couple of swipes, I land on the confirmation page. The message reads package delivered. Today marks the four-year anniversary of her accident. I ship a medicine and food care package gift wrapped with my shame to Babi.

My finger hovers over her cell number. I’m scared. Instead, I open the selfie with Babi’s big, hopeful smile and my ‘Tyson Beckford’ lookalike pose, our cheeks squished together. The day as calm as it is today. I savour the happiness, like the tingle and melt of pink cotton candy. On that fateful day, I broke Babi’s wings.

I push my phone into the pocket of my dark blue Nike track pants. I hope she’s figured out it’s me who sends her the care packages. Babi must know I love her, right?

I come to the ravine. I stand in the same spot. I see Babi in a wheelchair. I recite the ache in my heart.

“I miss you, Sis. I put the opinion of others before myself. And you. Sorry. Forgive me.”

A twig snaps. I turn.



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