MORNINGS OF OUR LIVES
Exuberance lending speed, Hutch took the stairs two at a time and halted
on the sidewalk. Even the street door, he noticed, commended this place,
with its beautifully carved panel of dark wood. He liked everything about
this apartment. Venice, he conceded, was maybe a little far out, so getting
to work could take longer, but that scarcely counted when set against this
ocean-side location and the right size at the right price.
There was the attraction of walks along the beach. He ignored the voice
in his head asking when he ever found the time for such indulgences. He'd
make the time. He'd start a new chapter. The cottage had been fine once and
Starsky was going to miss those ducks. But with an ocean across the street,
he could settle for gulls to feed.
He tossed the keys from hand to hand. He knew he'd been lucky to find a
place like this so fast. He felt better than in months past. The visions of
indefinite motel life receded. It had been a lunch-hour well spent and time
now to get back to work. He'd call the realtor from the squadroom, fix a few
dates and details.
Back at the desk, he was aware of some factor missing. It felt strange
not to have Starsky sited opposite. He'd talk to the realtor confirming his
intention of taking the place. He'd keep the keys, sign some papers next
day, move in at the start of the following week. Without thinking twice
about what he was doing, he reached again for the telephone and began
dialing the New York number, when second thoughts prompted him to resist
that impulse. Starsky would be back in L.A. by the weekend. Better to get a
few things set up to greet his return and let the great news burst upon him
then. With a happy smile, he replaced the receiver and turned purposefully
to the waiting files. He felt more cheerful than in a long time. Colleagues
began to notice, especially when he helpfully supplied coffee to a couple of
them who were chained to their typewriters, working against time, and even
volunteered, in view of their urgency, to take over a little of their
workload, help them finish up.
"You're in a festive mood," Minnie remarked. "What
happened? You win a lot of money or something?"
Hutch smiled sunnily. "Something like that. It's just a lovely
"Right." She smiled too. "So when does that partner of
yours get back here?"
"Day after tomorrow -- I think."
"Yeah? Place kinda isn't the same without him around."
He could agree with that. "It's different," he admitted.
The afternoon moved on. Time didn't drag. No snags, no delays, no
Everything was in tune with his wonderful day. He could practically hear
Starsky's comment on the way he'd been a regular shaft of sunlight ever
since lunchtime. Minnie regarded him with open curiosity when he finally
prepared to leave, nearly a half hour later than the scheduled time.
"This Pollyanna act has to be leading somewhere," she observed
as he called a pleasant farewell to the squadroom in general.
"No." He had to tell someone. "It's just -- I just found a
place to live -- that's all."
She smiled at that. "It is? You sounded like your partner talkin'
"It's great. Moving in next week. You're invited to the
"Planning a party, huh? And moving out of Starsky's place?"
"Sure -- next week."
He'd been grateful to move in with Starsky when events combined to hasten
his removal from the canal-side cottage. The ending of the lease was not
unexpected but the landlord's decision not to renew had come as a surprise.
He'd had to look for an alternative roof at short notice.
Starsky had soon squashed the plans to search for a motel.
"Wanna share?" he'd asked simply. "You're welcome."
Hutch knew that was so he hadn't hesitated. The offer was unequivocal and
he'd been glad to accept, and to take more time to find himself a new
"Anyway, I won't be here," Starsky had reminded. "You'll
have the place to yourself. You can keep the plants watered." He
thought for a second. "Plant," he amended, in allusion to the
fern, which Hutch had introduced into his care, complete with complicated
instructions for its nurture.
Today, as Hutch unlocked his partner's front door, he was at once aware
that he didn't have Starsky's place to himself. The woman who was about to
leave introduced herself as Mrs. Katz.
"Thursday," she added. "My regular day. He didn't tell
"He'll be back day after tomorrow," Hutch told her. Again, he
felt that need to share his good news. "I'll be moving out. Just found
my own place."
"You're his partner?" Hutch nodded. "Guessed that -- he's
talked about you."
She indicated the box on the kitchen counter. "I'd forgotten he
wouldn't be here today. Brought a few cookies -- the kind he likes."
She seemed about to retrieve them but changed her mind. "You like them
too? I'll leave them -- you eat them."
"Me? I wouldn't dare. He'd kill me." He laughed. Maybe
Starsky's cookies weren't that sacred. "He'll be back. They'll be okay
Alone in the apartment, Hutch spent a relaxed evening on Starsky's sofa,
watching Starsky's TV. He'd already inspected Starsky's bookshelves, a much
more prominent feature of this apartment than of his own. His partner's
reading tastes were clearly varied. He recognized a couple of the books: the
special guide for left-handed persons -- didn't seem to have been much used
-- and the manual of elementary Spanish with which he'd sought to extend his
partner's linguistic range.
The graceful ship model with its intricate rigging was set up next to the
books. Starsky had been working on that for almost as long as Hutch
remembered...one more aspect of this partner he was still getting to know.
He'd discovered, a while back, that there was constantly more to know about
Starsky -- like this patient perseverance which this kind of craft demanded.
The complexities were rewarding. The apartment was full of reflections of a
lively interest and curiosity in so many areas. Starsky, he'd realized early
on, didn't fit into any type-casting. Here, in this apartment,
paradoxically, his absence felt very close to presence. Their partnership
was working well. That was partly the outcome of a shared, keen
professionalism, a commitment to the job, a belief, even, that maybe they
could make a difference to some things. Compared with some, they hadn't been
working together long, but long enough to know that they had something here
that was worth having.
They were comfortable with one another. It was the way the best
partnerships worked; they'd been lucky there. Differences were marked in
many ways, yet basic values and priorities were close. Living here, and
especially living here in Starsky's absence, made Hutch somehow more aware
of his partner's special quality...this partner he was every day getting to
know and like. Some things, he believed, you didn't analyze but it had all
added up to a kind of friendship at first sight. He had here a friend as
well as a very competent and inventive partner.
He felt now that a lot of things were less precarious. The rocky time of
the split from Vanessa was receding into the past, both in fact and in his
consciousness. Tomorrow, he'd start in on plans for the new place. And
Starsky would be back the day after. He got up from Starsky's sofa and
retired, relaxed and happy and ready for sleep, to Starsky's bed.
Saturday morning, he picked up the keys -- to his new apartment and to
Starsky's car, left in his keeping during its owner's absence. The New York
flight, due in just before noon, was on time.
He felt an upsurge of happiness -- there was no other word -- as he
caught sight of Starsky. He had things to share -- it was simply a good
moment. The satisfaction seemed reciprocal.
"You wanna drive my car again?" Starsky offered generously.
It was exactly what Hutch did want, something that fitted in perfectly
with his plans.
He drove away from the airport, listening to Starsky filling in him in on
events back home in New York...the family gathering for the wedding
celebrations, the visiting, the parties which had been crowded into the past
"You should come too some time," Starsky suggested.
"Yeah. See a little of the east coast too."
"Everything's fine. And, yes -- " he forestalled the next
question. "They all missed you. Even Dobey."
Starsky cast him a skeptical glance and lapsed into post-flight
somnolence as they took the freeway, but roused after a few minutes to ask,
"Why're we going this way?"
"Prettier route. And I just wanted to show you this restaurant.
You're always introducing me to new eating places."
"Not sure I'd like your kind."
"Relax. It's perfect. Picked it out specially for you."
"Tryin' for revenge, huh?" Starsky looked unconvinced.
"Anyway, I already ate on the plane."
"Excuses, excuses. They have a great line in pizzas," Hutch
mentioned persuasively, hoping this was true. "Other things too."
He could scarcely wait to usher Starsky from the car on arrival at
Venice. "This way first." He led the way up the stairs, threw open
the door of his new domain.
"This is it?" Starsky was puzzled.
"Restaurant's on the ground floor. This is my new apartment."
Starsky looked incredulous. "You picked one over a pizza
"Right. Happy now?"
Starsky grinned, moving over to the window. "There's times when you
get some good ideas. And the ocean's just across from here."
Hutch joined him. "Moving in on Monday. How about a celebration
"Guess I could handle that. The flight food wasn't very much."
He looked back as they left the living room. "I like this place."
"Had a feeling you'd approve," Hutch said. "Welcome
"When he was asked 'What is a friend?' he said 'One soul inhabiting
two bodies'." Aristotle 384 -- 322 BC