Elena insists that Lina take a bread ration to the bald man. Jonas finds straw for the family to sleep on. Lina brings the beets to the bald man, where he is as rude as expected. He tells Lina her hands are disgusting, and Lina tells her she’s been digging. He asks Lina if the guards have “gotten” to Elena and Lina—“between your legs.” Lina leaves in disgust.
The threat of sexual assault is brought up several times throughout the novel, and it is something that is very real and dangerous for women in times of war. The bald man knows this, and is extremely crass in the way he brings it up to Lina, particularly since she has been actually groped by the guard, and the bald man himself is presumably immune to such a risk of sexual violation.
Lina sees Andrius on her way back to her hut. He tells her she looks horrible, and Lina is too tired to muster a clever reply. Andrius tells Lina that he has found out the name of the blond guard who oversees the digging: Kretszky. Lina tells Andrius she wants to send a letter to Kostas in the nearby post office, and Andrius tells her to be careful what she writes. Lina misses privacy. Andrius gives her three cigarettes for Jonas and Elena, and seems cagey when Lina asks him about his mother, quickly saying that he has to go.
Andrius’ insults of Lina’s appearance are actually expressions of care—he doesn’t really think she looks awful, but that she looks tired, and he is worried about her wellbeing. Andrius’ care for Lina, Jonas, and Elena is expressed in his gifts of three cigarettes, which can be used to barter, trade, or simply to help her mother and Jonas calm down. In the labor camp, they are valuable gifts.
Lina gives the cigarettes to Elena and passes along Andrius’ hello. The Altaian woman demands the cigarettes as payment, and Elena gives her one. They briefly converse, and Elena learns that her name is Ulyushka. The women briefly smoke together. In a flashback, Lina recalls talking with Joana in the middle of the night. She has just been seeing her boyfriend, who is studying engineering at university. Lina is skeptical of any boy Joana is infatuated with, since she has such high standards for her cousin. Joana hints that her boyfriend has a brother whom Lina might be interested in, and promises to introduce them when he visits the following week.
Elena shares the cigarettes with the Altaian woman because she recognizes how important it is to have the woman they live with on their side—some day, she could provide them with necessary resources, and at the very least she can make their day-to-day lives a little less painful if she respects their presence in her home. Lina’s encounter with Andrius reminds of her of better times, when her biggest worries were her standards of boyfriends for her cousin and herself.