Adah notes that Rachel is secretly remorseful for Nathan’s untimely death. Adah travels back to Georgia and tells Orleanna about Nathan. In response, Orleanna just walks outside for a while, silent. This prompts Adah to consider the direction Orleanna’s life has taken. She worked as a volunteer in Atlanta for years, and now lives on the Georgia coast.
Orleanna has been a continent away from Nathan for many years now, and when she learns that he has finally died, she doesn’t display much emotion. She seems to have killed off any emotional connection to him years ago, perhaps when Ruth May died.
Once, Adah talks to her mother about regaining her mobility. Orleanna tells Adah she’s glad that Adah can walk and talk normally now. Adah finds this a little uncomfortable—the Western world is too quick to condemn and pity the deformed and the sick, rather than respect their bodies for unique forms of beauty.
Adah lives in the U.S., but she hardly conforms to U.S. dogma in the way that Rachel does. On the contrary, she finds fault in the U.S.’s emphasis on purity, health, and perfection: overall she has grown into a progressive and brilliant woman.
When Adah returns to Georgia from Africa, she sees Orleanna right away. She reports that Leah and Rachel are doing all right—Leah is thin, and Rachel has barely changed. Adah tells Orleanna that Nathan died “in a blaze of glory,” just the way he would have wanted, and Orleanna replies, “I don’t give a damn what he would have wanted.” Orleanna tells Adah that not a single woman in Georgia has ever asked her how Ruth May died, or about Nathan the “crazy evangelist.” Adah only says, “I despised him. He was a despicable man.” Orleanna praises Adah for “always calling a spade a spade.” Adah senses that she’ll always be “a crooked little person trying to tell the truth” inside. She also notes that she used to fantasize about burning Nathan to death.
Adah, no less than Orleanna, will never entirely escape the memory of her own past. Just as Orleanna will always remember the death of her child and the years of abuse she experienced with Nathan, Adah will never entirely escape the memories of her hemiplegia. And much as Orleanna has chosen to accept her past rather than reject it altogether, Adah chooses to embrace her former self as well. Apparently Adah continues to feel no connection whatsoever for her father, even long after his death (by literal burning).