Eventually, he doesn't return at all, and Kya assumes him dead, making him the last of the family to leave her alone in the marsh.
Without money and family, she learns self-reliance, including gardening and trading fresh mussels and smoked-fish for money and gas from Jumpin', a black man who owns a gas shop for boats.
After she is left alone with Pa, he temporarily stops drinking and teaches her to fish and gives her his knapsack to hold her collections of shells and feathers.
Unable to read and write, Kya relies on painting with her Ma's old watercolors the birds or shores where she found the items. She recognizes it as having been sent from Ma, and she leaves it on the table for Pa to find.
Jumpin' becomes a good friend to her, even enlisting his wife, Mabel, to collect donated clothing to fit Kya.
At Kya's trial, contradictory testimonies are given. They live together until Kya, at age 64, passes away peacefully in her boat.He realizes the Kya cannot live in his more civilized world because of how wild and independent she is, and leaves her without saying goodbye.Part II - The Swamp Years later, in 1965, Chase Andrews, Barkley Cove's star quarterback and playboy, invites Kya to a picnic, during which he tries to have sex with her.Kya forgives her mother for leaving, but still cannot understand why she never returned.Kya is offered a chance to meet her publisher in Greenville, North Carolina.