Jack, 17 enters in his doughboy uniform. There is something haunted and lost about him. He races his fingers through his hair. Mother enters silently pulls a letter from an envelope and reads along.
(Warning: Using this monologue without permission is illegal, as is reproducing it on a website or in print in any way.)
Dear Mother, Sorry I haven't written. Please excuse my penmanship. They're calling it nerve exhaustion. As you might imagine, I'm all kinds of knocked about. But I'm not really as hurt as the doctors might have you believe. The legs have healed up really nicely and I can almost bend my knees. It takes a great deal to write so I won't be too loquacious. I fear you'll be unable to recognize me when I get back, Mother. I have seen so much that my very soul has been changed. I have always strived to earn your love and pride, but when I return, I shall be a much quieter person. A man you might not recognize. And I hope that you will find it in your heart to have the patience to love this new half man. I dream often of you playing baseball with Hal and me in the backyard, and you and Alice dancing in the parlor. Is that what we fought for? Tell them I am in good spirits and eager to return home. I am not as the Germans would have wished—"Kaput." Such a funny word: Kaput. I'll be in Albany soon. Much love, your son, Jack.