Ali Knows the Future
by Karl El-Koura
Their four-year-old daughter came home from school saying, “Ali knows the future.”
Her father, Bruce Palimani, busy forming meatballs for dinner, said, “No one knows the future, my heart.”
The next day, or a few days later, Sandy let her hands drop to her lap while practicing piano and told her mother the same thing about Ali, turning her small, round, serious face to Ana.
“Try ‘kissing Fireman Fred’ one more time,” Ana said, used to Sandy’s distractions and refusing to fall for it.
Later that week, at dinner, Sandy said, “Ali says we’re going to see a dinosaur tomorrow.”
“Dinosaurs aren’t real,” Bruce said, reflexively. Then, catching himself by the look Ana gave him across the table, he said, “Well–they were real. They died out. There’s no dinosaurs around now–except in museums. They’re not going to a museum, are they?”
“They’re a preschool,” Ana said.
“No, we’re not,” Sandy said, focused on her plate, tiny hands working the small spoon to pick up more butter chicken and rice than she could reasonably fit in her mouth. “But we’re going to see dinosaurs–Ali says.”
“Ali again,” Bruce said in bed that night.
“Yeah,” Ana said, then turned over to turn off the light.