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Character Spotlight: Trey from Flirting with Disaster

"Chloe was leaving. Just like his mother leaving him all over again. He saw his mother walking out the door when he was just ten years old, saw her leaving him behind with that monster of a father. He snapped."

Trey seemed like a normal guy — anxious to court the beautiful, sassy, independent Chloe. They met on a ferry on her way to school, and they had an instant attraction to each other. When Trey asked her out, Chloe obliged. Trey began spending his time and money on Chloe freely. Everything seemed normal at first, but then, Trey started to display some concerning red flags.

The story mentions how he was so taken aback by Chloe because she reminded him of his mother. Now, this wouldn’t normally be a red flag for me, but there was one occurrence in the story that had me scratching my head.

Trey bought Chloe a sweater (that he knew she didn’t care for). Because it wasn’t her style, she gave it to her younger sister. When he asked her about the sweater (and I mean, he asked about this sweater repeatedly throughout the story), he became visibly annoyed at the fact that she did not want this sweater. One could only assume that he was so obsessed with this sweater because it reminded him of his mother.

As mentioned previously, Chloe was beautiful, sassy, and didn’t get too attached to men. She knew her worth and put men through somewhat of a trial period before committing to them. So, when she first met Trey, she wasn’t too pressed and continued messing around with Jason, a man she was with before Trey. When Jason went missing, the cause of his disappearance was pretty obvious.

Throughout the book, Trey exhibited many odd behaviors. It was clear that there were a couple of screws loose. However, at the end of the story, the author gives some insight into some of these behaviors. Trey, like many of us, was battling some major demons. As a child, he lived with his mother and father. His father was physically abusive, and when his mother escaped his father, the beatings Trey received got even worse. Although Trey loved his mother, he never truly forgave her for abandoning him, so when he met Chloe, a woman who reminded him so much of his mother, he refused to let her go. He was willing to get rid of anything and anyone who stood in the way of that. That is why Jason had to go. He was even willing to get rid of Chloe to keep from having to witness her leaving him the way his mother did.

My heart went out to Trey because when I think of his trauma, I am reminded of our race as a whole and how many children come from broken homes. I can’t help but wonder about the implications of this. How many of our children are like Trey, suffering from abandonment due to having only one parent in the household? How many suffer from PTSD due to the physical, mental, and/or sexual abuse in the home? And in worse cases, how many of us have symptoms of psychosis due to severe, untreated mental illness? We know that African Americans are arguably the most traumatized race in the US, so how many untreated cases of mental illness are out there? Although this story may be a bit dramatized for fictional purposes, the real-life outcome of this story, unfortunately, could be eerily similar.

Although Dr. Hollister wasn’t able to help Trey in time, that doesn’t have to be our story. If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from any type of mental disorder and you have yet to seek professional help, please click the link below to find a mental health professional. Not taking care of your mental health needs is most definitely Flirting with Disaster.

For a copy of Flirting with Disaster by Tracy Brown, click the following link:

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