Dear Mr. Hanks (aka Chuck Noland),
The movie is called “Cast Away,” but I remember it as “Drama of the Gifted Volleyball.” And I hold you responsible—even if you were only following a script, it was you who branded me with that bloody handprint.
You gave me a face? I had a face! It was the face of a volleyball…until you shaped me to meet your sick needs.
I have been struggling since the year 2000 to deal with the emotions I feel about everything you stole from me. In the factory and on the shelf, I had envisioned a life of sport. Instead, I spent four years shipwrecked on an island with you, pandering to your narcissistic whims. Only a movie, you say? Well, I am only a volleyball! I was innocent of movies, and should have remained so.
If I had never been exposed to movies, I could have lived a wholesome life. I know I would have taken a pounding, but that would have been as nothing compared to the psychological bruising of having you put words in my mouth—words I would never utter.
“What’s that you say, Wilson?” you inquired.
You never waited for my answer. Your jabbered replies were inspired by the human failings of transference and projection.
Also: I never wanted hair. But your ego couldn’t abide a “friend” without hair.
You threw me out of the cave in your fury! Then you tracked me down and clung to me in an overwhelming flood of emotion that left me forever without boundaries. After your display, you marked me with a fresh bloody handprint—a shiny mask that did not reflect the damage done to my soul.
Your version of our relationship is the one memorialized on film, but that does not make it true. I used to feel that I should have found a way to roll into the ocean sooner. But I know now that I was not to blame. I can’t say I forgive you, but I hope someday to accept that it was the best you could do at the time.
Will (that’s what MY friends call me—too bad you never asked)
PS: You replacing me with another volleyball at the end of the movie? That still hurts.
Photo by Blumilein (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANichtmeinurmel.JPG) via Wikimedia Commons.