Milkman and Sweet go swimming. Milkman is on cloud nine, having unraveled some of the mystery of his ancestry. He feels fearless.
He goes all the way home to his city by Lake Superior, bursting to tell the world about what’s he’s discovered.
He goes straight to Pilate, who hits him over the head and locks him in the cellar. When he comes to, Milkman wonders why in the world Pilate would knock him out. And then he knows in the pit of his stomach: Hagar has died.
Milkman calls out to Pilate from the damp darkness, describing everything that he’s learned about their ancestors. Intrigued and still grief-frozen, she comes down to the cellar, in wonderment at Milkman’s stories. She gives him a box full of Hagar’s hair, which Milkman accepts whole-heartedly.
He feels like a huge schmuck. He returns home briefly to find his family just the same (except Corinthians has left home to move in with Henry Porter).
Milkman drives Pilate to Shalimar, Virginia (because there’s no way in Hades she will fly), where she blends in like butter in a churn. They stay with Omar and, one night at twilight, they go to Solomon’s Leap to bury Jake’s bones. Look at all the names we know now!
The bones sigh and the ginger smell appears when the bag of bones is opened.
Pilate takes her snuffbox earring out and places it on the grave that Milkman has dug.
She falls suddenly, and only after she falls does Milkman register the sound of the gunshot.
Milkman cradles his aunt in his arms. Pilate asks Milkman to take care of Reba for her. She tells him she wishes she could have known more people so that she could have loved more people. Milkman sings the Sugarman song to her (the same one she sang to Robert Smith at the very beginning of the novel), only he sings Sugargirl.
A crow flies down and takes hold of the snuffbox earring Pilate has laid on her father’s grave. Milkman, shaken, yells to Guitar, asks him if he wants his life, too.
Guitar puts his gun down and says, "My main man."
Milkman jumps off of Solomon’s Leap, and learns what his great-grandfather knew: "if you surrendered to the air, you could ride it" (2.15.337).