The boats are delayed and the deportees must wait on the banks of the river for more than a week. They are fed barley porridge, and Lina is worried about what is to come if the Soviets think they will need their strength. Women chosen to carry supplies help pass along letters. Lina sends a slat of wood with the hopes it will reach Kostas. One day, when Lina and Elena wade into the river, Jonas worriedly tells them to cover up since the guards are watching. Jonas then accuses Elena of sleeping with Kretszky. Elena grabs Lina’s arm painfully and harshly rebukes Jonas for implying such a thing. The children are shocked at her response.
Like with the previous train journey, the NKVD show total disregard for the humanity of the deportees by keeping them waiting for days for their next passage. Though they are fed relatively well, this concerns the deportees—it means they will be put to work as soon as they arrive at their destination. Elena, who has worked hard to uphold her dignity throughout the ordeal, is deeply hurt by her childrens’ accusations. So much of her strength has come from her love for Kostas, and she is profoundly hurt that anyone would suggest she is anything but faithful to him.