So to recap (the recap): In the last 48 hours, Tea: presumably failed a test she was too bored to take, spent the night making ecstasy-fueled love to kind of an angel, played the Golightly card, tried to come out to her parents, became an auntie (again), got caught wanking by her grandmother, solicited herself for the good of her family/the mob, almost f–ked a dude, was very nearly axe-murdered by a drug dealer, and found out her grandmother was a victim of the lavender scare. Am I forgetting anything? It’s been a full few days; she should call it a week. A month, maybe. Probability being what it is, the foundation of her world won’t be rocked again for a while. (Spoiler alert: wrong!)
Tea’s back in the cafeteria, trying to digest just … everything. Michelle sits down across from her, and can I just say how much I’m loving Michelle? Because I am. So much. This next bit with the talking with her food in her mouth? Hearts in my eyes, you guys. She asks about Tea’s date, and Tea shoves her secrets down even further. She says “just some guy” and Michelle wants to know if he tried to get in her pants. “But you explained, right?” she says, which is only the most awesomely straight-but-not-narrow thing to say.
We could talk about that some more or we could all hold our breath because Betty appears on the scene like lightning and in an instant her lips are trembling against Tea’s like the moon over water, steady, steady, steady. She pulls away after long enough for everyone in the cafeteria — her boyfriend included — to have felt the thickness of the moment. “I put my truth on you,” she says. It’s brave. Reckless. Impulsive. (Michelle likes that in a woman.)
Tony is pissed, his eyes spelling “V-a-r-j-a-k” over there as angrily as they can. I warned him, though. I warned him that he’d never be Tea’s Fred-baby.
Tea’s dad is waiting outside with Mad Mao Le Dong in his car because he thinks he was attacking Tea for being Jewish. Once again, Tea tries to seize the opportunity to explain that she’s a raging homosexual, but her dad’s mob-feelings are mangled up in a tangled up knot, and the only solution is concrete and fishes. They drive Dr. Le Dong out toward the harbor. (Hey, maybe he’ll find his weed there, floating in that bag!)
At home, Tea wanders into Nana’s room. Tony calls. He says he matched her, and she doesn’t know how to explain that yes, but no. Betty calls, too. She hangs up on him, denies her, and brandishes her iPod. There’s lavender on Nana’s dresser, a sweet flower.
When it happens, this is how it happens: A woman is singing you a song, and she’s taking you back. Back to the English mod scene of the ’70s. Back to the African American gospel and soul of the ’60s. Back and back and back and back to coded slave songs because that’s where “Let’s Wade in the Water” was born. “Singing as an expression of democratic values and community solidarity; singing as a source of inspiration and motivation; singing as an expression of protest.” Singing and singing and singing. Dancing your way toward freedom.