I ran away. If you had asked me then I would have denied it, but, it's true. I hated my life, hated the man I had become, and this seemed a way to escape. I tried to tell myself I was going to the Congo to help others but, even if I wasn't ready to admit it, in truth I was looking for a place to hide. Chicago had become too dangerous for me, too dangerous for those around me. Erin, Rick, how many more would have suffered injury or death if I hadn't left when I did?
Life in the Congo allowed me to escape into a world I hadn't realized existed. In the beginning nothing really changed for me, I worked my shifts, and once I was finished, I would drink until I was too exhausted to keep my eyes open, or until I found someone to fall into bed with. I'm not sure that I deliberately taunted death, but, I know I didn't do anything to avoid putting myself at risk, or those around me for that matter. I know I didn't see any of my actions clearly until after Carter and Gillian left Matenda, and by then it was too late. Sakima, Chance, Patrique, all of them were ready to put there lives before mine. Patrique went so far as to give his for me, and it wasn't until I thought it was my turn that I even realized, the gift I had been wasting.
It wasn't until I returned to Chicago that I really had a chance to realize how much I owed to each of them, how much I owed Carter for coming back for me. I think I knew then that I had to change, I owed it not just to Patrique's memory, but to those who had survived. They had to have seen some worth in me that I had lost sight of, and now it was up to me to find it again, to re-claim those missing pieces so I could once more become whole. I owed it to them, but, more importantly, I owed it to myself.