Season 1, Episode 3
Previously, David was referred to the school counselor because of the fight he instigated with Seren. As David waits for Dr. Bree, he falls asleep. He has flashbacks of arguing with Sky in the rain, of Seren’s bruised body and of the fight. He dreams of running and hears his mom calling his name. And then Dr. Bree wakes him up. It’s time for his session.
Dr. Bree wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter. He wants to know about the fight. David apologizes and is on his best magnet school behavior. But Dai/DJ are there too and they are providing David with alternative answers to all of the doctor’s questions. Because there’s a delay in the answers that David is providing (because Dai and DJ are taking over in his mind), Dr. Bree asks if David is getting enough rest at home. David tells him that he wasn’t home last night because he spent the night at Seren’s house. Dr. WT required David to do his project with Seren, in order to make sure that the two of them have made peace. So, David had to spend the night at Seren’s to get it done. At this point, Dai/DJ doesn’t want to answer any more questions, but David is continuing to provide answers. Dr. Bree wants to know how his time at Seren’s was.
Convincing Seren to help him with the project took some doing, but Seren agreed. David was hesitant to stay with Seren because he knows that Seren’s stepfather, Ray, abuses him. David’s mom isn’t really about him staying the night at other people’s house either, but she reluctantly agrees. On the school bus, the two boys ride together. Each bump in the road proves challenging for Seren, since he is recovering from the latest beating he got from his stepfather. David moves closer to him in an attempt to help protect him from the bumps. Finally they arrive at Seren’s house. It’s huge and pristine. David is mostly impressed by the well-stocked fridge. He tells Serene he would never want to leave if this was his house. Serene looks sad. David asks if Serene’s real father ever lived in this house. The answer is no. Serene’s father lives somewhere in Tampa…he thinks. His dad is from Overtown and his mom doesn’t want Seren to “pick up those ways.” David tells Seren that JG’s dad was from there, but he’s dead now. He was shot when JG was two. And what about your dad, David? David has never met his father and doesn’t even know his name or what he looks like. Seren always thought that “DJ” stood for David, Jr. It turns out that on the first day of school, he just told the teacher to call him that. The project for Dr. WT is all about where he came from. Seren wants to know if David will tell the class that he doesn’t know his father. David tells Seren that he will tell the class about how he had to figure it out and about his mom. Seren’s mother comes home and it evokes immediate anxiety for Seren. He quickly cleans up, collects himself and stands at the door like a member of the military. Moms walks in, moves David’s shoes to where she wants them, and questions Seren. Seren doesn’t use the word “ma’am” and almost gets an “attitude adjustment.” Moms gets off of Seren’s case and turns her attention to David. It’s good to see them back together again, and she has talked to Gloria about DJ staying over. I don’t like Moms. At all. Back at the counseling session, Dr. Bree asks if Seren’s mom was nice. She was…to David, but not to Seren (and it’s Dai/DJ, sitting behind the counselor, providing David’s real thoughts for us…and cutting up.) Dai/DJ are sure that Seren’s mom is abusing Seren, too.
Dr. Bree questions David about his mom’s reaction to him having to stay with Seren. Gloria did not want him to, especially since it was a rough summer in “The Ville.” DJ/Dai can’t believe he is sharing this info and beg David not to say any more about it. David tells Dr. Bree it was a rough summer in the neighborhood, but Dr. Bree had already seen and read about it in the paper. Did he know anyone who got killed?
At Seren’s house, the boys are going over the music for David’s project (remember that Seren has the gift of music). The song is too high for him. They will need a girl voice. He calls Marissa from their class. Marissa isn’t a fan of either one of them. I already love her and her clap backs. They convince her to help and she reluctantly agrees to meet up before school to get it together.
The boys are tucked in for the night and discuss final details for David’s project. Seren can’t believe the story that David will be telling his class tomorrow or that his mom actually did the things she did. David tells Seren that he should believe it and that he is a lot like his mom, especially when he feels like he’s stuck. He just does stuff and he can’t be still. Seren says that he is too still sometimes and feels stuck. David tells Seren that he should tell someone about what’s been happening to him at home. No one knows but David. But Seren wants to know who he can tell. His mom? He can’t tell her. And he is sure that his mom doesn’t know what’s been happening to him. His mom sees what she wants to see. And even though Ray is the main offender, it seems that Seren is most afraid of his mother and how she takes things too far. David can’t understand that because for him, the only time Gloria hugs him is when she is very close to hitting him. Gloria never hits him. Seren thanks David for coming over and I just love his smile. David picks on him a little about his crush on Marissa. And they have a wonderful #blackboyjoy moment before Seren’s mom tells them to go to sleep.
The next morning, Ray is back and David is scared. Seren’s family seems picture perfect. Seren offers David breakfast. Mom is happy to welcome Dad home from his trip. But then, Seren drops a glass and all hell breaks loose. Seren’s mom snaps. Seren’s stepdad makes him recite a Bible verse and they invite David to church to hear Seren sing. David and Seren sit in silence and eat breakfast. David questions Seren about that whole scene at the house. Seren seemed to be cool with all of that. Seren says he’s just playing it cool and David tells him that we all have a game to play. Seren says he wishes this was a game. And they are having this entire conversation while Marissa is telling them off about calling her house and asking for favors. LOL. I love her.
So finally, David presents his project. Marissa and Seren stand behind him. Marissa is holding a jacket that makes it look like she’s holding a baby. They begin humming “Your Child” by Mary J. Blige. We finally learn more about Gloria. She is sitting in a car that is parked in front of a house. David tells the story of the day that Gloria went to his father’s house to tell him about David. Turns out that Gloria was in a relationship with a professor while she was in college. The wife answers the door and she actually recognizes Gloria as one of her husband’s students. Gloria tells the wife that David belongs to her husband. She came because she didn’t want David growing up and not knowing who his father is. Gloria and the wife go back and forth and then the husband pulls up. He denies everything, but Gloria stands firm. She wasn’t with anybody else. She tells him that she doesn’t want anything from him, but he needs to know that this baby is his. Darius is acting like this can’t be, trying to explain himself to his wife (you know hoodrats latch on to anything that’s good.) Darius threatens to call the police if she shows up again. Gloria tells him not to worry about that and when David grows up to be something good, don’t try to claim him. So…that’s David’s story. And now we are back to David telling his story to the class. “That’s the story of how I came to be without a father. I tell it to point out that all of us get here in many different ways, and sometimes, people judge those ways. They try to make you feel like you’re nothing. But something simple as a song on the radio can tell you that you’re not a nobody. Mary J made a song for folks who sometimes get called nothing or treated like a nobody. And I come from those people. I’m not nothing.” After class, a white classmate calls David brave and gives him props for sharing his story. Dr. WT didn’t immediately say anything, but when the class cleared out, she tells him that it was well done.
Back at the counseling session, Dr. Bree wants to know if Dr. WT enjoyed the presentation. Dai and DJ say they “made it.” David is being humble. There’s one last question. Why wasn’t the presentation about the friend that he lost this summer? David tells him that that wasn’t the assignment. There’s a long pause. David thinks. DJ and Dai take over. Sky was the person closest to him besides his mom and JG. Sky listened to him and encouraged him to be hopeful about his future. Sky introduced him to poetry and lit and taught him to value his education. It was Sky who wanted him to go to Hurston and helped him understand his situation – and achieve more. It didn’t make sense to talk about him for this project. Sky never worried about where he was from, only where he was going. Now that Sky is gone, how do you feel? David looks nervous and scared. He only thinks of a poem that Sky taught him. “All things must die.”
Whew! That was another hard day in the life of David/DJ/Dai. I hope Dr. Bree sees David’s need for grief counseling. Sky was like a father to David. David was so brave to share his story with a class filled with privileged white kids. I was both proud of him and sad for him. I absolutely love Dr. WT. She plays no games but she also cares so much about David.
In other news…
Ms. Elijah and Gloria seem to go wayyyyy back. I am ready to get some more tea on their relationship. Starry is still at the house. What’s his story?
Raynan was arrested in this episode. What will that mean for David? And what’s going on with David’s intro to the drug world?
I am about to go gather my feelings. I will see yall next week.