The Colonel finally returns. He is freezing and tells Miles that he walked to Montevallo and back, which adds up to be 84 miles in 45 hours, because he didn’t want to sleep. Instead, he memorized the populations of every country. The Colonel says that he can’t remember what Alaska looked like, and he and Miles find her picture in the yearbook. He complains to Miles about how Alaska was always so sad and moody but would never explain to anyone what was going on, and never seemed like she had a reason to be as upset as she was. He was tired of her drama that night, so he let her drive away.
Only days after Alaska’s death, Miles and the Colonel’s memory of her is already starting to change. But although the Colonel struggles to remember Alaska’s face, he is able to remember her behavior quite clearly. Despite the immense sadness that he feels over her death, he also remembers how annoying and moody she could be. He doesn’t place all of the blame for her death on himself.