Mom worked with the sad, limp strands of my hair. My hair had forever been a curse. It held as much body as the fur of a rat and often resembled the nest of the same. The comb worked its way through my tangled tresses and mom mentioned the need for some concealer to hide the red spot where my glasses pressed in on the bridge of my nose. Mom didn’t want me wearing my glasses in my senior pictures, even though I’d begged the opposite. I silently bemoaned the fact that as a 17-year-old senior in high school I was still wearing braces and glasses and found myself incapable of styling my hair for pictures. “There, you look beautiful!” Mom’s encouragement helped…a little; even though I still didn’t equate beauty with braces and wilted hair. Finally, I was ready and waiting for the photographer to call my name. My hand tapped nervously and I reached for the neckline of my top to make sure my necklace was showing. The tiny butterfly dangled from a chain heavy with the history it held. It had been sent as a birthday present from a friend in Brazil and when I touched the silver charm a special kind of sorrow came to me. I saw the flames of the sunset in Sao Paulo at the close of the day…days filled with people and flavors and smells and the intensity of emotion…like a Brazilian feels. I remember the press of people downtown, little snapshots of millions of lives, a million people I would never meet, a million souls that needed a Savior. I remember the view from the restaurant on the top floor of a skyscraper near the center of the city. There was no escaping the concrete jungle which stretched past sight and continues to grow daily, so I’m told. I sat in church services with fewer people than pew space, yet the sound of their praises outlasted the piano and the decibels of their voices surpassed that of their larger American counterparts. I saw the girls I’d spent hours with, taking walks, eating lunches, talking long into the night. I remember the patio where I prayed and wrote in my journal daily. The face of a sweet little girl who became my sister. Waking up to the sound of the city and letting it charm me to sleep every night. A sleepless city, Sao Paulo. A restless, thrill-seeking city…full of people, yet so very empty. The aches of these days came back to me as I fumbled with the chain at my neck to turn the clasp to the back. Then the photographer called my name. Saudades.