That was the end of a party: people talking here and there… a mix of joy and some tiredness. And I was still there trying to play the good hostess’ role. There was a goodbye feeling in the air… Something more than the usual stuff for the end of a party. Oh yeah! I knew that! However I was trying hard not to think much about it. But he finally came. It was time to hear Bernardo say goodbye. I was not expecting him at that moment. I remember I was explaining something important to someone else. Bernardo just came towards me. I knew exactly what he was there for. So, my heart froze. Bernardo threw his arms around me in a kind of a long and strong hug, a goodbye hug in fact! I could feel his heart beating next to mine, his breathing next to my ear… I couldn’t stand it for so long and then I sat down… We sat down in that endless hug! I’m quite sure it didn’t take that long… no, no way!!! There were so many people around us… But that moment was long enough for me to see, as in a movie on a big TV screen, everything we had spent together during those past 2 years. We had learned so much from each other. I could remember all those mornings stamped by a thousand of sweet kisses, all those times he used to call me ‘beautiful’, the times we used to sit together in the room floor to read a book, to listen to a song, to sing a song, to laugh out loud… I could remember when we had a picnic in the woods and he was in such a bad humor, refusing to eat all I offered him (just to drive me mad, I bet)! But he couldn’t resist longer and devoured all the chocolate cake and the peach juice! I also remembered that I used to sit at my desk in order to correct some of my pupils’ assignments, and out of the blue, there he was – behind me – smelling my hair. He used to say that my hair smelled like diamonds! “Diamonds?! Are you crazy, Bernardo?! Diamonds are odorless!!! Please, go, go!!! I still have lots of things to do and so do you!” But he never seemed willing to obey my orders, either. I could also remember the only time that he broke my heart and how sad and disappointed I got! However I still keep his lovely letter apologizing sincerely. Yeah! I was quite able to remember all that while he was holding me tightly in his arms. And I whispered: “I love you so much!”. I had tears in my eyes… I wish I could cry… but I couldn’t! I shouldn’t! Not there! Bernardo finally let me go and surprisingly he didn’t have tears in his eyes… He was not crying!!! He brought a beautiful huge smile on his face, instead. A smile which seemed to try to comfort me somehow… So, I smiled back to him. He eventually said: “Oh! I still need to do a last thing in order not to forget you anymore!” And then he came closer again, placed his nose among my hair and smelled it for the last time. Maybe he just wanted to feel the diamonds perfume once more. He smiled, stood up… I opened the front door and he finally left. You may be asking yourself who Bernardo is. Well, Bernardo was my lovely seven-year-old student at Anglo Americano School. 2007 was my last year there and that was our ‘goodbye party’. From that day on, we’ve never met again and I still miss him tons!

Vanda Fliess is from Rio de Janeiro. She is a teacher, an educator, but above all – and always – a learner. Graduated in Languages (English / Portuguese) from UCB (Universidade Castelo Branco), she has been teaching English for more than 20 years. Totally in love with teaching, she simply can’t imagine doing something different from that. However, she is also quite curious about literature, music, art, writing, and photography, Therefore, she tries to connect her own life experiences and interests to her classes so that the students can have more lively lessons. Vanda also teaches private classes, does translations and offers pedagogical coaching for English teachers, as well. You can get in touch with her and/or know more about her work at: