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Family Circle 2009 Fiction Contest: "The Sanity of Socks"

Cynthia L. Hefti's story, "The Sanity of Socks," won third place in the Family Circle 2009 Fiction Contest.
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"The dog is wearing my socks!" Daddy yelled.

He leaned over the side of his wheelchair and stared at Rupert, my big mess of a dog who was fast asleep on the lawn, his long white paws curled toward his belly.

"The dog is wearing my socks!" Daddy repeated, his voice rising in pitch.

I stopped re-potting geraniums and looked at Daddy. He sat in his wheelchair in the warm summer sun. Today, Daddy was clean. He had let me shave him and change his clothes. His hair was combed, and there wasn't any food crusted on his face. He almost looked sane. He almost looked like the father I had adored my whole life.

"The dog is wearing my socks!" Daddy said again, agitation tingeing his voice.

"It sure looks like it," I said cautiously.

And I waited.

So far this morning, Daddy had asked me seventeen times—and yes, I was counting—when we were having lunch. He critiqued the potting soil I was using in the geranium pots and repeated endlessly how much he hated geraniums. He had picked them out at the greenhouse this morning. Daddy had called me by the wrong name three times (twice my mother's and once his sister's, both long dead). He said he had seen an elephant in the neighbor's yard and it was staring at him.

And today had been a good day.

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