One Christmas evening, three brothers were getting ready to receive family members who were coming from far away for Christmas Eve.
The table was carefully set and beautifully decorated, the Christmas tree glowed with colourful lights, the fire in the fireplace crackled.
As usual, Joana placed the menu on top of each plate with a beautiful photograph of the three. Tiago played the guitar and Pedro lit the candles on the table arrangement.
The mother, who was in the kitchen, looked out the window and seeing that it was snowing, opened the balcony door and the three siblings, in seconds, ran to the front door. Quickly, they put on their warm coats and headed downstairs, not waiting for the elevator.
On the street, someone was looking at them from afar… Joana, curious, got closer and saw a boy who, although cold and insufficiently dressed, was happy to see other children.
- What is your name? Do you want to come with us to make a snowman? Are you alone? – Joana asked, not giving the child time to answer.
- My name is Mark. My parents are still working. I wait for them so that we can go home.
The child pulled by Joana's hand agreed to play with them and the four made a huge snowman in the calm street, now covered with snow.
Mark's parents, with a wide smile on their tired face, offered them a carrot for the snowman’s nose, as they had just closed the small market in the neighbourhood where they had worked all day. Exhausted, they called Mark and said they had to go home to bed.
- Aren't you going to have dinner? Celebrate Christmas? – asked Tiago.
- No, my dear. These last few days have been very busy. So many orders that we couldn’t stop. We are very tired.
- What about Mark? Won't you have a Christmas dinner? Receive gifts at midnight? – Pedro insisted.
The parents didn't answer…Joana quickly broke the silence and with a twinkle in her eyes and an imposing tone said:
- Have dinner with us. My mother says there's always room for one more. I'm sure the three of you will be welcome to our home. We live just over there - Joana explained while she was dragging Mark and waving to her mother who saw them from the window.
Together they walked to the door with Joana, at the front of the group, jumping with happiness.
The mother of the three siblings welcomed that family with joy because, from her balcony, she had heard their children's shrill voices on that silent night. It only took a few minutes for them to feel at ease and let go of the shyness that initially gripped them.
At gift time, the three siblings let their parents distribute the gifts, which glowed under the Christmas tree, also to Mark and his family. It was amazing how there were gifts for everyone and how carefully everything seemed to have been planned.
That Christmas evening, Pedro, Tiago and Joana realized that there are people who work beyond their strength to allow others a better Christmas, with greater comfort, like Mark's parents who end up forgetting their own Christmas. They had the opportunity to share Christmas Eve, conversations, playing the piano, guitar, songs, laughs, games, memories under the tree and, in this way, gain the best ever, new FRIENDS.
Pedro, Tiago and Joana
Children of the Biochemistry Professor, Susana Constantino
To our three storytellers, and to our illustrator Pedro, thank you very much for the energy with which you took on this challenge, with only two days to go. Thank you Professor Susana for sharing your best gifts with us.
The editorial team.