Hutch had promised to be back from court in time, but he
hadn’t shown up, and Starsky’s anxiety increased.
The ceremony started but words didn’t reach him.
He broke out in a sweat. The surroundings blurred in front
of his eyes, and with a soft moan he collapsed.
For a while he remained in a dark, soundless place without
any emotional pain.
He stirred when gentle fingertips brushed his cheek, and
a soft voice called his name. He opened his eyes and sighed.
“I’m right here.”
“What took you so long?”
“Let’s say goodbye to Terry.”
Later Starsky endured the time when the mourners expressed
their sympathy for his loss. Having Hutch by his side made it bearable..
Starsky let out a long breath when they were finally alone.
“To Huggy’s?” Hutch asked, and Starsky
agreed tacitly. Hutch let his hand linger on Starsky’s back when he led him to the car.
“Ya know what Terry said about my car?” Starsky ran
his hand over the hood of the Torino.
Hutch raised an eyebrow and waited a moment to open the passenger’s
“She said it looks like a tomato with white stripes.”
“Hey, that’s my line,” Hutch objected,
and Starsky slid into the car, a pensive expression on his face.
Starsky started the car and they drove in silence till Starsky
looked over to Hutch.
“You remember when I met her? It was on the parking lot
on our way to Napa Valley. I saw her standing there trying to open
her car, and I wanted to help her.”
“Yeah, the known-it-all, streetwise guy offering his
help.” Hutch remembered the incident. Hiding a smile, he said, “But you couldn’t open the car either, could
you? As you told me later, she had mixed up the parking rows and was trying to open the wrong car, one similar to hers.”
“I loved her being furious and at the next moment blushing
because of her mistake. There was something in her eyes… Starsky concentrated on the road again suppressing the lump
in his throat.
Hutch sensed the distress and put his arm on the headrest,
touching Starsky’s neck in a soft caress.
To lighten the mood he said, “She enjoyed Sammy Grovner
talking about his career. Like you, she loved his jokes and would laugh at them.”
When they had met the old comedian and his wife, it had been
a long and enjoyable evening, sitting together in the bar of the motel, getting to know each other.
“You’re right. When she was laughing, it was
contagious. Even the kids she was working with had so much fun being together with Terry.”
Starsky followed his thoughts back memory lane. Terry had
been able to cheer him up whenever he came home tired from the work on the streets. She seemed to understand that his job
required long hours and even stakeouts at night. She was the first woman who understood his passion for his job and his strong
bond with his partner.
“Hutch, ya know, Terry loved you too. I mean, she once
told me she felt at ease the way we’re watching each others backs and so…”
Hutch nodded and looked out of the window, trying to hide
the tears that he had held back for so long.
A hand settled on his thigh.
In a shaky voice Hutch said, “I loved her too. She
never gave me the feeling of being left out. What’re you doing?”
Starsky had slowed down the car and came to a halt on the
roadside. He shut down the engine and looked at Hutch.
“This day has been terrible, Hutch. All the people
who want to comfort you and tell you how sorry they are. What did they know about Terry and me? Nothing at all. It was you
who shared our lives, who were with me when I met her, who...”
“…tried to show you how to win at Monopoly, but
Terry always beat you,” Hutch said through tears.
“At least I did my very best,” Starsky said softly.
Then he turned toward his friend, saw Hutch’s misty eyes just before Hutch bent his head.
“C’me here,” Starsky said and tugged on
Hutch’s jacket. Without any resistance Hutch moved into Starsky’s arms. They cried silently, mourning the loss
of Starsky’s lady.
Finally Starsky drew back so he could see Hutch’s face.
He said, “Now, let’s have a cold beer at Huggy’s. And by the way, what took you so long this morning? Don’t
you know that I need you?”
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