Scene 5

NARRATOR: There were two sons. The one became a man. The other: a portrait.

Projection: Living room standard. Spotlight on Richieu's portrait.

Quite a nice portrait, but a portrait nonetheless. Just a portrait. How did he become a portrait?

Light on ARTIE and VLADEK, same living room scene. VLADEK is in one of the armchairs, ARTIE in the other. NARRATOR wanders over to them, and sits down on the floor, cross-legged, like a child at story time.

VLADEK: When things got bad, Anja's brother-in-law said he could take Anja's sister, Tosha, and their family somewhere safe. He said he can take Richieu too. What we can do? We say yes!

NARRATOR: (looking at VLADEK) But when we said goodbye, how could we know it would be the last time? How could we know that our boy, our baby, our little Richieu would only ever grow up to be a portrait?

ARTIE: But what happened to him?

VLADEK tells the story silently while the projection shows. Projection: Gestapo marching. Sound of boots tramping. Cut to Tosha at window. She puts her hand to the vial around her neck.

Tosha: They won't take me… And they won't take my children!

She calls the children to her, and administers the poison to each in turn.

Drink this… Don't be frightened. Just drink this. It'll make everything better.

There is a loud knock at the door. Tosha shoots one last look towards the door, and then she takes the vial herself and drinks.

Projection off. Return to living room scene.

VLADEK: She poisoned them all. Her two… and Richieu.

He is visibly upset by the memory.

NARRATOR: Richieu, my little Richieu. Only five years old.

VLADEK: Anja… She fell apart. All her family, all dead. Her parents, her brothers, her sisters… And now Richieu. She told me she don't want to live no more. I say: "No, Anja! Dying is easy. We must stay alive. Stay alive for me."

Silence as both father and son look at the portrait.

NARRATOR: And she did. But not forever. She couldn't stay forever.

VLADEK: (emotional and trying to hide it) That's enough for today, I think, Artie?

ARTIE: Ok, Dad. I'll see you in the morning.

He hesitates, then kisses VLADEK on the top of the head. Exit ARTIE. NARRATOR stays where she is, but in darkness. It is a private moment, and she needs to be unobtrusive. Lights dim, leaving only spotlight on VLADEK. He remains sitting, and puts his head in his hands. After a while, he looks up and talks to the portrait of Anja.

VLADEK: Why you had to leave me, Anja? What we had here, it wasn't so bad, was it? Was it?

Projection: Anja dances, twirling by herself to soft, sad music in the vein of a tune from a music box – the instrumental version of Meadows of Heaven, by Nightwish, from 02:56 to 03:21. VLADEK watches her.

Oh, Anja.

Dancing Anja fades, to be replaced by the portrait once more.