Season 2 | Episode 2
The journey continues, but this week, we get to see young David at Hurston. That answers a major question from last season. David spent a huge part of last season trying to secure letters of recommendation to get in. And he did.
David is in his sophomore year at the all-boys prep school and he’s found his little group of “friends.” Put some massive air quotes around “friends” because I knew from the moment they hit the screen that there was gonna be some problems. Anyway, at breakfast with the crew, the conversation turns to being gay (because one of the boys is gay/homophobic) and David mentions that he had a friend in middle school who was gay (Seren!) and it wasn’t a big deal. He was a good friend. Y’all. I really want them to tell me what happened to Seren. I’m tired of all the hints. Please let me know and put me out of my misery.
Life at Hurston is a bit difficult. David’s sweating is an issue there too. He’s having to wash his sheets daily. His roommate assumes he’s having wet dreams – because that’s exactly what his roommate is having. But the biggest issue of the day is that David’s $200 calculator isn’t working and there’s a big math test coming up. You already know David doesn’t have the funds to replace it. His roommate offers his old one – even tho it’s a bit janky and has some charging issues. I am just wondering if this is a setup. And lo and behold, the calculator does give out during the test. And the teacher isn’t sympathetic AT ALL! I’m gonna guess that this test didn’t go well.
Later, David is minding his business and doing his job at the library. His roommate comes to bug him and encourage him to leave his job so they can work on the class prank. And again…I don’t like this feeling. David is thee last one that needs to be ditching his job to plan a prank. So he meets with the band of misfits, and the ring leader has this stupid idea about doing something with ether. David comes up with an idea that involves tape and the pool. One thing they won’t have to worry about is purchasing supplies, because ring leader #1 got a black card. Of course he does. And David and his friends get to planning and executing the prank at the pool. They tape “Class of 2012” at the bottom. Once they are done, David gets out because he can’t swim that well and panics easily. The crew celebrates their win with beer. Ring leader makes a speech about how David is cool, just like David’s roommate said. He didn’t think David belonged, but now since David has joined in with this lil stupid prank, David is the man. And they toast to “D-Money.” And then they run because they are about to get caught.
The next day is a field trip at the Nature Center and guess whose there – Marissa!!!!! All of David’s friends thinks she’s cute and try to push David up to go and be disrespectful. He tells them that he knows her and he gives in to their peer pressure and goes to talk to her. Marissa doesn’t go to Hurston, but she’s there because she volunteers for research. David tries to make small talk. She asks him how he’s liking Hurston. He asks her how her school is. Marissa is doing big things there and leading all the organizations. I totally expected that. She also notices his stupid friends in the background and knows that’s why he’s trying to talk to her because of them. She ain’t having it. David denies it and says that he came over because he misses her and they had some good times together, including her saving his arse on that project that Seren brought her in on. You do remember Seren…don’t you? Of course he remembers Seren. He was the closest to him and he was the one who…he almost let it slip. Marissa is done with David tho because all of the jerks in the back are acting like the jerks they are.
A long weekend has come and David’s roommate is going home for the weekend. Of course, David is not. He’s helping his roommate with his bags, but when they get close to roomie’s dad’s car, roomie starts acting funny. Luis’ daddy says something racist in Spanish, but David speaks Spanish and surprises them. And of course he’s pissed. Po David.
After the weekend, things are pretty chilly at the table of friends. They hear an announcement about the vandalism at the pool and how they are still looking for the perps. The boys laugh (except David). Conversation turns to how they are going to pass their Shakespeare project because they have David. David tells them Shakespeare is easy because he uses rhythm. And then ring leader (his name is Rondo) stumbles over to the table…because he’s drunk. It’s breakfast time and this dude is already lit. So then David expounds on the rhythm and says it’s basically like rap. And that gets all the white boys hype because they get to rap with an actual Black boy at the table. All is well until Rond’s drunk arse uses the n-word. Three times. David told him not to call him that and jumps up to make sure he heard him. And then Rondo pushes him and then David clocks him. *insert deep sigh here* Rondo had it coming. He really did. But the next scene is with an administrator and David is pleading his case about being provoked with use of the n-word. Rondo said they were just joking. Rondo’s daddy and ‘nem went to Hurston and his dad would be ashamed. That’s all the administrator had to say to him. Now for David…there’s a ZERO tolerance policy. And he even says that the n-word is common at the school and he has heard David used it with Luis, so…it’s whatever. Nonetheless, the administrator is worried about the head injuries that Rondo may have received and sends him to the nurse. David, on the other hand, got his records pulled. Last year was great, but this year he’s fighting and recently failed a math test. And they give him little room to explain. Suspended for the week and on probation. I wish I could say I was surprised by how this all went down, but I’m not. And I guess no one cares that Rondo was drunk. I’m sure that’s not allowed either…but here we are.
David had to catch the bus back to the Ville. Things ain’t changed much in the courtyard. At the apartment, everything has changed! There are boxes because Gloria is moving soon. There’s a new kid living in David’s space. Gloria is fostering him and helping Mx. Elijah out with him. David has to confess that he is suspended so that’s why he’s home. But why didn’t anybody call me? Gloria wants to know! What’s that about? Gloria is about to fly off the handle, but she uses her coping skills and thanks David for being honest with her, tells him she trusts him and that he doesn’t need to let his anger rule him. And that’s that. David was surprised at her reaction. Gloria is also in school now! Go, Gloria.
David decides to make the best of his time home and visits his old middle school to see Dr. Woods-Trap. She doesn’t teach there anymore, but he got her email address and sends her a message asking for advice. He admits that he got into a fight and he’s embarrassed about that. He explains what happened with the n-word but he’s trying to understand the difference in use and consent. He wants to know if she knows of a better way to handle the situation and get justice. And Dr. WT didn’t disappoint in her response:
“Dear budding scholar at Hurston Prep, David Young. Thank you. I am well. Your email said you thought I would “understand your suspension.” I do not. What I do understand, David, is that you still haven’t figured out how to deescalate. Racism isn’t your fault, but it is catching you off guard when you were not expecting it. You signed up – almost begged to go to a school that’s 80% white, and you thought it wouldn’t be what? Unfair. This is what you wanted. And that’s the trade off for trying, wanting, begging to navigate white institutions. It’s not always as bold and as blatant, but racism is woven into the very fabric. And the sooner you learn that, David, the better. Because when push comes to shove, one day you’re going to look around for your friends and they won’t be there. Or they will be there smiling with knives between their teeth. Thank you for writing, David. You can do this. Sincerely, Dr. Woods-Trap.”
Whew, Chile….she ain’t nevah lied.
Back at Hurston, Luis is trying to make up. David is trying to ignore him. Luis tries his very best and explains to him that they got each other. He’s not rich like the rest of them and they aren’t like them. He apologizes for his father being an “old school Cuban” racist. David opens up to Luis about Sky’s death and how it messed him up. It was Sky who told him about Hurston. Luis pledges his loyalty and the two boys end on good terms. But then the crew comes by. Rondo thanks David for not snitching on him and telling the administrator he was drunk. Turns out Rondo ain’t new to this, he’s true to this. He’s already done time at rehab. SMH. So the crew heads to the pool to work on their Shakespeare project. All was going well until Marissa came up and they started being mad disrespectful and rude. David tells them to chill. They keep not chillin. And then Rondo asks if David’s “fag friend” was in the group project at the middle school and David goes off – again. Luis come to David’s defense. Rondo keeps the party going. Ohhhhhh….you defending him because yall got a thing. You are Seren’s replacement. Luis had told them about David’s wet dreams, and David goes off on him too. Luis tells him that he’s always looking for a handout. David tells Luis he’s just like his racist arse daddy. And then Luis mentions Sky. Ughhhhhhh! David tells him he’s just mad that a Black kid is better at everything. That’s prolly true. In typical prep boy fashion, the boys challenge Luis and David to a race in the pool. By the way, the boys are cheering for Luis. David catches a cramp and nearly drowns. He’s at the bottom of the pool…again. And David the man, is dreaming about this whole thing and wakes up at his regular time – 3:28 AM. Sweating, of course. Gloria calls. He needs to get to the hospital now. *le sigh*
I don’t even know what to say, yall. I totally see why David is walking around with so much trauma. The Hurston years must have been hell. I was tired for him and wanted to slap each and every one of them for him. But his experience isn’t unique. At some point or another we all have to navigate white spaces to our detriment. We do the best we can. We deal with what we have to deal with. But it’s exhausting! I feel for David. I am so happy that we will be going back and forth in his life. I kinda like this. But I still need to know what happened to Seren ASAPTUALLY!
What did yall think about this episode?