“Dad, what are you looking at?”
My son’s voice pulled me from my thoughts. He peered at me with one eye, the other was held tight against the bright summer sunlight that was coming through the large window next to him where he sat opposite me in the booth.
I blinked at the boy and smiled.
He patiently waited for me to answer and lifted a spoonful of rootbeer float up to his mouth.
“I was…” I started to answer, “I was just thinking. I guess… I don’t know. What was I looking at? I was looking at the future.”
The boy slurped some more icecream off a white plastic spoon and nodded. “Oh, right. Dads can see the future.”
“Well, yes, but not really. You know, I was imagining the future. I was picturing myself there and trying to figure out what it will be like and what I should do when I get there.” I was afraid I was already saying too much, so I stopped talking and watched as he ate two more spoons of icecream.
Finally, he smiled at me again, and said, “Did you know, I can do something. I don’t know if it is a superpower or what, but it’s something I can do.”
I leaned towards him, happy for the change of subject. “What’s that?”
He stared at me quietly for a few seconds and then laughed. “See?”
“Didn’t you hear me?”
I shook my head.
He threw his hands up in dispare. “I can talk without opening my mouth or making sounds! I can think it in my head and it just happens in the world.” We waved his little arms around like a bony wizard.
I poked my straw at him. “Gideon, that is nuts.”
His head rocked back and forth, “Well, you can imagine the future and see it, and I can imagine words and can hear them. It’s the same.”
I started to object, but then I found I wasn’t as certain as I thought. “Maybe you are right, little man.”
He smiled and winked. “Dad?” He said a minute or so later, “In the future, where you were looking,” he motioned over his shoulder at the far wall, “Did you see me? And could I still talk without saying anything?”
“Oh yes,” I said, wiping a drip off of his chin with a napkin. “That is most of what I see. You, your mom, your sisters. That’s the best part of picturing the future. And there, in the future, you can do lots of thing. Lots and lots and lots of thing. You wouldn’t believe how many things you are able to do there. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
He put his spoon into his empty cup and looked out the window for a moment at the bright world outside blanketed in a warm orange glow. Then he looked back at me, and the two of us just studied each other for a few minutes. And somehow, somewhere in the deepest part of my soul, I could hear exactly what he was saying. And I agreed.