“Jeanie” By: Eric Heifner It was a typical Texas summer Saturday. Outside, through a cloudless, clear blue sky the afternoon sun was at its peak, and the hot air barely moved. It was much too hot to play outside, so Father and his two young girls had came inside to the cool comfort of their air conditioned house. As they sat together on the couch in the living room, the girls entranced by the cartoon princesses on the television, Father’s mind began to wander with pride as he admired his youngest daughter. “Such a beautiful child”, he thought. She was sitting in the middle, Father to her left and her older sister to her right, lying on the end of the couch with her head resting on a pillow. Jeanie, as Father liked to call her, sat upright, her round hazel eyes focused on the TV as she absently sucked the two middle fingers of her left hand. It was a trait that she had developed before birth. She had decided to forego a ponytail that morning, choosing instead to wear her hair down. Her light brown locks of soft, fluffy curls had grown long enough in her three and a half years to fall well below her shoulders, almost reaching the middle of her back. Her cheeks, though still quite round, were beginning to lose some of the chubbiness of infancy. “She’s looking more and more like a little girl and less like a baby each day,” thought Father. Her occasional smiles brought out the rosiness of her cheeks, and along with her pointed little chin, thin lips, and narrow nose enhanced the heart like shape of her face. Her little teeth looked clean and bright, perfectly straight. “Don’t think she’ll ever need braces,” he thought, “at least not unless that finger sucking habit causes problems.” Father continued to ponder Jeanie. He noted that she had chosen a good outfit for the day. Her white denim shorts and pink tank-top were well suited for the morning’s play activities, and though now a little dingy and grass stained, would be comfortable enough for naptime and fine for the rest of the afternoon. She had taken off her purple “Dora the Explorer” flip flops, and the tan lines on her feet revealed that she had gotten a little more sun, further adding to her already dark complexion. Father envisioned the way she sometimes started out to take off running, head down, hands balled into fists, little arms and legs pumping in a cute exaggeration of her dogged determination. It was one of several mannerisms that uniquely defined her personality.