I do not own anything relating to either the Teen Titans or the song "Here I Am."
Here I am, playing with those memories again.
And just when I thought time had set me free,
Those thoughts of you keep taunting me.
Dusk was settling. The brightness of the autumn day was quickly vanishing as the chilly October night began to overtake Jump City. Shadows became more prevalent; people began to hunker down against the wind, which was blowing the first falling red and yellow leaves through the streets. Street lights began to come on, throwing shadows in odd, unusual places, mixing with the shadows from the setting sun.
Among those people beginning to hurry through the streets was a young man. He was dressed in jeans, sneakers and a light jacket, which covered a black polo shirt. He wasn't hunkered down against the wind, although it blew through him like everyone else on the street. Still, he hurried along to where he was going, just like everyone else. There was one aspect of the young man that differed from everyone else, however; he was green.
If you were to examine the young green man closely he would appear almost unnaturally thin, nearly emaciated. Although his eyes seemed hollow, there was just the hint of brightness, as if he were exiting out of a long, dark tunnel, an abyss that had threatened to swallow him, but not yet, not quite. He had still managed to escape it, but it was a near thing. Where in the past he might have been whistling and bouncing down the street, he was now walking, almost trudging. There was no bounce, not yet, but the hint that someday, that bounce might come back was evident in his tread. He was feeling, if not good about himself, at least better. Better than he had in a long while.
Garfield Logan continued to walk down the one of the main streets of Jump City. Few, if any, people paid much attention to him. It had been several years since he had been active with the Titans and the public's memory was short. Oh, if any of the residents had stopped and seriously thought about it, they would remember Beast Boy, one of their heroes, who had saved the city, nay, the world, time and time again. But, the public's memory was, on the surface, short. And so, he walked in relative anonymity. Which is how he preferred it; once, long ago, he sought attention, but that was a lifetime ago. Now, he sought only to get better. To forget….
No, he wouldn't go down that road, that way lay ruin.
It had been a good day. A day filled with accomplishment. When he had been released from the hospital a while back, he had been offered a choice, to work at the Jump City Zoo or to work for one of the local animal shelters. The offer was no choice at all. There was no way he'd work for the zoo. Although he would be surrounded by numerous animals, the mere thought of them being imprisoned for no crime, simply for the amusement of others was abhorrent, and so, he worked at a local shelter where he could help as many animals as he could. His strength was still not sufficient for a long spell, yet he pushed himself. The drive to help, if not himself, then others who could not help themselves, consumed him still. While he would not change, could not, not with the pain it often caused, he still could help the helpless in any way he could.
Today, he had helped a number of dogs, several cats and one rooster. The rooster had been bred to fight and had been abandoned after its last battle, battered, bloodied and useless as far at its owner had been concerned, unable to battle again. Garfield had nursed it and bandaged it so that, perhaps, it might live through the night. He wasn't scheduled to go back to the shelter for another three days. He prayed that the cock might live until then. Until then, it was counseling and therapy for him, rest and healing for the rooster. Perhaps the two of them might heal together. Stranger things had happened.
And so Garfield Logan walked, his path taking him back to the rehabilitation center that was, with any luck, his temporary home. Who knows? Perhaps, with time, he would be stronger, strong enough to go back. He gave a small inward smile, feeling good; perhaps he could be what he once was.
And dusk continued to deepen. The lights on the street throwing shadows everywhere, creating colors and hues that, by natural daylight, would not be evident.
"No." He whispered. He had happened to look up, rather than at his feet. The girl ahead of him, her hair, the color, it….it…was just like hers. The same color, could it…
Garfield ran forward, without thinking and grabbed the girl before him.
Holding you, a feeling I never outgrew.
Though each and every part of me has tried,
Only you can fill that space inside.
With a strength he didn't realize he still possessed, he whirled the girl around.
It wasn't her.
"What, what's going on? Let go of me you creep!" She shouted.
The young green man, stammered, "I'm…I'm sorry, I thought….I thought...Oh GOD, I'm so sorry." His voice trailed away. His hands left her shoulders and he bent his head down.
The girl shrugged away. "Get away from me, you weirdo, before I call the cops." She hurried away from him and ran down the street.
Garfield put his hands and arms up around his head and began to rock. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no." With that one hint, that one sign, the memories all began to flood back to him: the scent of her hair, the look in her eyes, the touch of her hand, the lilt of her voice, everything about her, everything that WAS her. He began to remember their times together, the mischievous small smile she had, the way she spoke, the way she walked, the movement of her body, the way she sat, the way she fought, the love he had for her. The love that had never faded, even after all this time.
He fell to his knees, there, in the middle of the sidewalk, and began to rock back and forth, silent tears trailing down his face. There weren't that many people on the street, but there were a few. As with any crowd, some walked around him, oblivious. Some deliberately avoided him, fearful of what this strange man was doing. Finally, one older woman stopped and looked at him for a moment. She stepped over to him and gently shook his shoulder.
"Young man, are you well? Do you need help, or a doctor?"
Garfield attempted to pull himself together as best he could. Voice thick, he replied, "No, no, I'm alright. There's no need for a doctor. Thank you for stopping. I'll…I'll be all right." And he got shakily to his feet.
"All right then, have a good night." And she turned and walked away.
"Liar!" he thought, "You're not all right. You'll never be all right. Never, not without her. You need a doctor, but not the kind she was thinking off."
He moved out off of the main part of the sidewalk, over to the side of the building he'd been passing. Taking out his phone, he quickly punched in a number. The doctor he needed was on speed dial. His hands began to shake. "Come on, come on, please answer, please, please, please."
"Hello, this is Doctor Mackensie's office. I'm not available to come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name, number and a brief message, I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If this is a true medical emergency, please hang up and call 911." A beep sounded. When he heard the voice of the answering service, Garfield began to cry again.
"Doc, doc, this is Garfield, I need to talk to you. Please, it's…it's an emergency. I saw…I thought I saw. I can't stop thinking about her again. I need….where are you?" In between sobs, his voice had gotten fainter and fainter until the final, plaintive question. He closed the phone and, holding his head in his hands once again, began to cry and rock back and forth.
So there's no sense pretending,
My heart is not mending.
Just when I thought I was over you,
And just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Garfield continued to shake for a few minutes, as the flood of memories of her pounded through his mind. Everything they had done. Every moment they had spent together. The sound of her voice, how she made the days perfect. Finally, he lifted his head up again. What to do? He couldn't take much more of this. He needed something, either to talk or….
Staring across the street, there was a liquor store.
"You trying to tell me something God?" He began to run the back of his hand across his lips, then licking them. "It would be so easy, wouldn't it? Just a little, just to numb my memory." He began to breathe heavily again. "It's been a while, now, I'm better. I could handle it."
"No, no, no!" he said aloud, "I can't, I can't." He reached into his pocket and removed his phone once again. "Frank, Frank, Frank," he muttered, looking through his directory for the phone number of his sponsor. He quickly punched in the number.
"Hi Guys, I'm not home right now, things to do, places to see, meetings to go to. Leave me a message and I'll get back to you when I'm back." Beep.
Garfield's face contorted in a grimace of agony. Lowering his head once again, he threw the phone away. By now, her face was everywhere in his mind, he had to do something. Finally, he looked up again and across the street. Disgust and self-loathing on his face over his weakness, Garfield Logan crossed the road and entered the liquor store.
It was quite bright, as most are. The beer was on the left, the wine in the middle and right, and over in the corner, ahh, there it was. He moved among the bottles of hard liquor.
"Let's see, scotch. No, too expensive. Rum, damn, nothing's on sale. Sheesh, don't have much gin do they? Hey," he let out a chuckle. "Gordon's is on sale. All right, vodka it is." He reached into his pocket once more. Withdrawing the few bills, he counted out. "Fifty bucks, should be enough. It's all I have for food for the rest of the week, but this is an emergency." He grabbed three of the large bottles and walked over to the cashier.
Garfield pulled out his wallet and showed his driver's license. The man behind the counter took a look at it carefully, then looked at Garfield. "Green?"
"Skin disease. Not contagious."
The cashier gave a shrug. "Looks like a bit of a party tonight. OK, that'll be $52.00."
"Damn, forgot about the tax!" thought Garfield. He began to search through his pockets again, hoping for a few dollars more. He had almost emptied them out completely. "Come on, can't you let the two bucks slide?"
"Nope, need it in full. Otherwise, put back one of the bottles."
Garfield finished emptying his pockets. Nothing much in them. He had thrown away his phone. He had a few notes regarding work. A notebook and pen, some lip balm, some gum. And his Titans communicator.
He stared at the large disk with the T emblem. He'd almost forgot he had it. Hadn't used it since before he was in the hospital. Once more in his mind, her face appeared, he could hear her voice ringing in his ears. He began to shake his head.
"Hey, trade you this for the two bucks." He lifted the communicator.
"What is it?"
"Titans communicator, real collectors item."
"So how'd you get it?"
The man turned his head, then let out a breath. "Sure, what the hell. OK, we're even." Garfield handed the disk over to the cashier. He put the three bottles in a large plastic bag and handed it over to the young green man. Garfield grabbed the bag eagerly and left the store.
"OK, where to go. Need to find somewhere fast, not sure how much longer I can hold it." He hunched over again as a phantom scent filled his nostrils and he remember the smell of her hair. He began to cry again. With a wild look in his eyes, he searched around. Looked like a few doors down was a small alley. He hurried over and looked down it. It was dirty, there were the large trash receptacles towards the back. Bags of garbage were haphazardly arranged around the bins.
"Well, I won't be interrupted. In any case, I'll be gone by morning." Even as he said this, he knew it was a lie. He knew what lay ahead. Otherwise, why would he have bought three bottles? Making his way down the alley, he looked around. It appeared to be deserted. Good, he wouldn't be disturbed. He bent down and crawled between two of the receptacles, out of sight. Tears continuing to stream down his face, he pulled the cap off of one of the bottles of vodka and took a drink.
Oh baby, those memories come crashing through,
And I just can't go on without…you.