Genre: Memoir/Current Event
Word Count: Approx. 30,000 words
Status: In Production
From childhood playmate to an unrecognizable figure stumbling up to federal court podiums, Matt's journey through opioid addiction is told through the eyes of his little sister. This firsthand biography shares provocative insight into the historic and life-threatening phenomenon of heroin in America that's claimed more lives than the Vietnam War.
Frank and hauntingly intimate, Megale’s narrative is a must read for anyone touched by substance abuse or grief. It is the portrait of Matt – his spirit and his warmth – but the story of her, too, and her fight to return to him with both urgency and ideas of forever.
It was April when I sat in the middle of Cub Run and considered driving my wheelchair into the rocks the white foam leapt across.
Laziness and complete lack of energy were probably what kept me. So instead, I sat there and was sad. I planned to sit there and be sad for a few hours.
Behind me, on the bridge, heavy footsteps clunked. I considered turning around but didn't. Then the grass behind me rustled.
"Sarah?" a voice said. "Is that you?"
I turned. It was the burly old man I'd given a hug to that one time in the Manassas Battlefield gift shop. He wore a National Parks slouch hat and carried a walking staff with hiking medallions glinting off it. Grey moustache and big, trusting eyes. He calls me Sarah because he never remembers my real name, and I always let him.
I said, "Yes, it is," and donned my acting skills like an energy shield from the video game Halo. A jab of pain, along with a memory, zapped through me.
We talked for a minute, and then the old man nodded back at that pathway. "You want to come with me?"
Well, I had planned on just sitting at the stream and being sad actually. But I glanced at the water and said sure, why not.
He walked with a limp and breathed sort of heavy. We passed through woods. He stopped and tugged down a branch of a flowering tree to my height. The leaves sighed. "Smell that," he said. "That's Amelanchier."
I buried my nose in it.
After a few minutes of thawing I began pointing to other trees. "What is that?"
"Is that birch?"
"Why, that's sycamore, darlin'."
For about three miles we walked, and we discussed the heat, and his first job in the doughnut bakery. He sang some bassy Virginia tune under his breath and then pointed into the marsh. "Over there, see, those're ducks."
Well, I knew that.
When we got to discussing the bluebells, the famous carpet of wildflowers that blooms over our Civil War woods, I told him, "One time, I forged into the flowers and got stuck on a root. My brother had to come tug me out."
"Did he?" He laughed. "And how old is your brother?"
I paused. "How old is he?"
"He’s twenty-six." A beat. "In Heaven."
The man got quiet. I explained a little more. Then he told me his niece died the same way when she was nineteen.
"Her parents. Nothing they could do, honey, she was..."
Those large eyes reddened.
"Laying on the floor. Next to her bed."
The sounds of my parents, screaming and pounding his chest, returned to me. Cold blood stole through me.
"We love each other in this life," the old man said, with sudden fervor, "even though we all go our own paths. Yours is still planned for you. You know that, Sarah."
When our trails parted, the man hugged me tight. He exhaled and I felt the coarse bristles of his whiskers.
I told him I loved him.
"I love you, too, Sarah. I love you, too."
He swallowed hard as he thumped away, down the opposite trail.
I looked ahead at mine.
It was long.
And I'd be alone.