The Third Note
Hutch bolted awake from a howl that turned his skin cold in seconds. He slept in his own bed, and Starsky had taken the couch in the living after they'd tried to find some distraction at Huggy's. But Starsky was confused and grew even more pale, so after a couple of beers that made him look even more queasy they'd left and went to Hutch's place. The blond recalled the doctor warning him for unwanted effects of alcohol in combination with Starsky's condition. They don't go well together, the doctor said, but Hutch knew this was something else.
The cry sounded like a hurt animal, coming from the deepest inner world imaginable. Hutch jumped out of bed and stopped in his tracks when he saw Starsky, standing in the middle of the room, arms spread wide, head tilted backwards, eerily reminding him of a crusifixion, shouting, screaming, howling his cry.
“Starsk…” Hutch whispered.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Starsky shouted, unaware of the blond behind him. Enraged, he picked up a paper weight from the table and threw it with all the force that anger and frustration could muster, against a mirror that hung from the wall. It broke and came down in hundreds of tiny shards, littering the carpet with sparkling fragments. The sound was so loud that it hurt Hutch’s ears.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Starsky kept on screaming, interrupted only once to catch his breath. “NOOOOOOOOO!”
In two steps Hutch was with Starsky. His friend was shaking like a leaf and froze at Hutch’s hand on his arm. He hadn’t heard him approaching and Hutch’s sudden appearance scared the hell out of him. Hutch grabbed his arms. The animalistic cry fell silent.
“Stop it,” Hutch said and looked him in the eyes. “Look at me, buddy. Enough. No more.” Appalled, he saw tears on his friend’s face, watery eyes that reflected the desperation inside.
“Huuuutch,” Starsky said, his voice not sounding like his own. “Huuuutch.”
The pain in those strangely spoken words was so bad, that the blond let go of the grip on Starsky’s arms. Starsky dropped his head, but Hutch put his finger under his chin and kindly lifted it. He made his friend look at him. The lost look made his stomach churn.
“Hey buddy, what’s this?”
No answer. Only deep and intense desperation.
"Starsk? You hurting? "
Hutch's eyes caught the third note. On the table.
“I’m loneleee,” Starsky said, again with that strange slur that accompanied his words. “So loneleeee.” He swallowed, embarrassedly looking away. “So loneleee,” he repeated. “Deaf… isolate…” The despair in those few little words made Hutch’s heart skip a beat.
He pulled his friend close, until the curls rested on the taller man’s chest.
“Sssh, buddy. No need to feel lonely. I’m right here, and I’m gonna pull you through, you hear?”
But there was no answer. No muffled ‘yeah’ or ‘kay’.
Starsky couldn’t hear him. Starsky couldn’t pick up the comforting words.
He buried his fingers in Starsky’s hair and repeated his mantra. Maybe he would catch something of the vibration of Hutch's vocal chords. Maybe he could feel something soothing in the warmth of his breath.
“It’s alright buddy. I’m right here.”
Poor Starsky. Poor, poor Starsky.
The two men stood there for a while, exchanging unspoken words for which they didn’t need to speak or didn’t need to hear.
Oh Stark, buddy… if only you COULD hear how much I want you to hear…
Wearily, Starsky pulled himself away from the comforting posture of his partner. He turned around, too embarrassed and too hurt to look back at Hutch. Quietly he laid down on the couch and turned to his side, his back turned to Hutch.
“Hey, buddy… come on. You’re tired, you can sleep in my bed,” Hutch said and squeezed his partner’s shoulder. Another few seconds passed before it dawned. Damned damned damned.
The silence in Starsky’s tensed shoulders were enough to keep Hutch from a retry.
God Almighty…The blond man rubbed his tired eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose… this was worse then he could have imagined.
To the Fourth Note