Two weeks later, Jonas has nearly improved but is still weak. Lina and Elena are weaker than usual, since they have been giving their bread rations to Jonas. The NKVD will not give bread rations to Jonas as long as he does not work, and as the situation becomes even more dire, the other deportees become less generous with their food. Their morale is raised only by the thought of their impending Christmas celebration, Kucios, to be held in the bald man’s shack. With no actual food to share, they trade descriptions of the food they wish they were bringing to the celebration.
The deportees must relish whatever small joys they can. Though Lina and Elena become weaker by sharing their rations with Jonas, they are grateful that he is getting better. The deportees plan a traditional Lithuanian Christmas celebration to the best of their abilities, given the meager resources, and it is this brief promise of joy that gives them strength through the darkest days of winter.
Lina begins to steal firewood for warmth. During one stealing session she runs into Andrius, relieved he is not a guard. She invites him and his mother to join the deportees’ evening gatherings. Andrius is skeptical they will be welcome, but they show up three days later anyway. Though the deportees are silent when they arrive, they do not resent Mrs. Arvydas’ clean clothing—no one would want to trade places with her. Someone produces a bottle of vodka, and Elena calls for a toast to good friends. That night, Lina fantasizes about Kostas joining them for the celebration. In a flashback, Lina recalls Kostas being late for dinner on Christmas Eve. She is worried about him being out alone in the snow. When he finally arrives, he jokes that he’s not late, but right on time.
Andrius and his mother feel as if they are shunned by the rest of the deportees, since they live in more comfortable conditions than the others. However, no one would want to trade their places—the decision to keep them alive pending Mrs. Arvvdas’ prostitution is an arbitrary one, and there is no telling if the NKVD will change their minds on a whim. It is a despicable exploitation of Mrs. Arvydas’ gender and her love of her son, one that is an unforgivable crime against her humanity. Once she arrives, the other deportees are eager to include her in their circle of warmth.