It was a frosty night and the stars twinkled in the dark blanket of the night sky. Rami pulled his ragged coat tighter around him, trying to keep the wind’s cold bite away. He walked down the city’s street. People rushed by, their belly-filled bags banging against him; children held on to their parents hands, their cheeks rosy from the cold and the excitement of Christmas Eve.
Rami didn’t have anyone to hold onto his hand. He had no mum or dad, brother or sister. His family had been killed in the cruel war that was destroying his land. Escaping by boat had been his only choice, then hiding in the back of a large lorry.
Rami stopped in front of a shop window. There were colourful lights and cheerful music enticing the shoppers in. The window was filled with toys like the ones he saw on the boxes in the back of the lorry that had brought him here. He reached out his hand as if it could reach through the window. But it only touched the cold glass, leaving behind his handprint and the cloud of his breath.
He walked on. He looked down the narrow streets with their dark shadows, looking for somewhere he could shelter for the night. He rummaged through the bins, looking for something to eat.
He found shelter next to the city’s library. Rami spent hours hidden in this building during the long days. He could escape into the pictures he saw in the books. Rami felt tears threatening as he pulled an old blanket over him. No, he wasn’t going to cry. How would salty tears on his cheeks help? In the weeks since he’d arrived in this strange country, he felt like he had cried an ocean.
Rami didn’t wish for a stocking filled with toys that night. His only Christmas wish was for a family and to feel a little happiness flow through him again.
As he drifted off to sleep, he heard the sound of tinkling bells in the distance. Tiredness tried to pull him to heavy sleep. He half-opened his eyes and saw light surrounding him. He heard a deep voice.
‘You will have your Christmas wish, Rami. You won’t suffer any more. You will have a new family.’
Sparkling sprinkles fell like snowflakes over him and a quiet breeze blew gently. Rami fell into a deep sleep…
Rami opened his eyes. He felt the warmth of an open fire on his skin. He looked around. He saw a Christmas tree in the corner with colourful presents piled underneath. He sat upright. Where was he?
The door to the room began to open. Rami held in his breath. Who was coming? Two faces appeared in the doorway. They stared at Rami, their eyes wide open. Rami peered back.
The man and woman kneeled in front of him smiling.
‘You’ve come,’ whispered the woman with tears glistening in her eyes. ‘Our very own little boy.’
‘Mama. Papa,’ said Rami, hope surging through him.
Mama wrapped her arms around him. Rami’s Christmas wish really had come true.