To Frankfurt and Back

From Morgenstern

Dear mother,
I should write more often, but whereas I as young wrote a lot I now find myself lacking in the ability to string together sentences. Whereas so many soldiers write letters daily, I can stare at the paper for hours and not knowing what to write. So, I am sorry for that, mother. The war is taking its toll on me, though I show little of it outside. There are times when I feel blase and uncaring, numb and cold about the whole thing. But then I spend time with one soldier and get to know him and he dies, and the misery and anxiety comes back in full force.
I know that my letters take many weeks to reach you, which is hardly odd. Perhaps not all reach you, either. But I am still alive, I have been wounded a few times but nothing major. The medical staff here is truly skilled.
How is Mikael? Do you still meet him every Saturday as that horrible woman promised? How are my lovely sisters?
Be well, mother. I will write soon again.

Dear Markus,
Your letters makes me so happy each time they arrive and I pray to God in thanks each time I learn you are still alive. You are a strong boy and always was, but a mother always worries.
I wish I could send you some gifts but you know why they won't reach you. I hope that a simple letter is enough to cheer you up, my son.
I do see Mikael each Saturday and he looks more and more like you each time I see him! He is a strong, big and healthy boy and just like you, he does not talk very much and seems to mostly enjoy sports. His mother looks after him well enough, though she should spend more time with him and stop going to all those theatres. Her most recent man is apparently one of those theatre-people.
Your sisters and their families are all doing wonderfully. Lena will be a mother again come August! I wrote that in the last letter, but it does not seem to have reached you, so I write it now again. Tomas is this wonderfully happy little boy of two years now. Mikael is very fond of him and the two play together, it is a joyful sight.
Take care now, my son, and look after yourself. And come back home to your mother when the war is over.

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