Red Steam in the Sunrise

Dearest Rachel –

I’ve made this distinction before; it’s a rare thing that one’s daydreams and one’s dreams should coincide. But this morning’s screenings clearly must’ve resulted from having won the lottery or something like that. I mean, sure, I probably acquired the thing for kopecks on the ruble, but fixing up an old Soviet ship (and no, I have no idea what kind – I wouldn’t be able to tell you a battleship from a cruiser) wouldn’t come cheap, regardless.

It’s entirely possible, too, that my mind conflated my own relatively recent experiences of both remodeling and cruising (which is sort of amazing to realize I’ve done both in the span of this last half year) to come up with this particular image of having acquired some naval vessel of one sort or another, and fixing it up to convert it into my personal private yacht, like I was one of that nation’s notorious oligarchs. Only, instead of trying to hide my wealth by doing so (and I’ve sort of learned that in real life they’re doing this rather than putting their money into banks or investments in order to supposedly better conceal it, as they can be put in family member’s names or something – although the fact that they’re being seized these days amidst the Russia/Ukraine conflict suggests that it’s not a particularly successful gambit), I’m leaning into the fact that it’s a naval surplus purchase.

How, you say? Well (and I’d say this wasn’t my idea, but rather that of the team doing the decorations, but considering that they’re all part of my mind’s invention, I guess I have to take the blame for all of this, after all), because I’d had the entire exterior of the ship painted red, with an enormous hammer, sickle and star logo hung on both sides of the main conning tower, much like, say, RCL’s crown and anchor logo. And not just any red, either, but an absolutely psychedelic swirl of every tone and hue of the color, from brick red to pink, with golden trim to delineate the outlines, rather than black. It was like the ultimate graffiti job, and when the painting team showed me their progress, I was practically squeeing with delight at the work they’d done, and the crazy result they’d come up with.

To Dream Me, it seemed like the ultimate “sticking it to the Russkies” move; a loud, garish work of art that was nearly everything the Soviets would be against. I’ve heard that Jackson Pollock and the op-art crowd were in part financed and encouraged by the likes of the CIA to literally illustrate the the extent of freedom of expression allowed in the West, to the point where art didn’t have to make sense (in contrast to the national style of Soviet Realism). Granted, this looked more like a 60’s era 7-Up commercial than like Jackson Pollock or Andy Warhol, but the same concept was being conveyed, and on one of their old ships, to boot.

Now, of course, in the cold light of day (or such as there might be at a quarter to six in the morning, when it’s been raining on and off all night), this all is grossly impractical. I’ve heard stories about the cost of upkeep for a yacht – especially of the sort that would be owned by one of those oligarchs – I would imagine the upkeep on an ancient Russian naval vessel (to say nothing of the costs of renovation; can you even imagine how much this paint job as I’ve imagined it would run? An art piece the size of a literal battleship?) would be infinitely higher – after all, it’s likely part of why the Russian navy would be unloading it in the first place.

Still, there’s no doubt it represents a dream of living well, and traveling on one’s own terms. Like the little kid who wished he could afford an elephant, it’s not so much the wanting the elephant, as much as just being able to acquire it in the first place.

Plus, the paint job really did look pretty cool.

Don’t know what your dreams were ever like (by that, I mean daydreams rather than actual dreams, but if they coincided like this, that would be interesting too), or if heaven is anything like they were. I certainly hope so; presumably, the mind of God can exceed anything the mind of man can come up with, the former having created the latter. Still, it would be interesting to know how much the place tracks with one’s dreams of it on earth; wish you could let me know, somehow.

But not right now. I’ve just heard the squeal of air brakes outside, and it occurs to me that I neglected to take the garbage out last night. So I’ve got to go.

I’ll talk to you later, honey. Until then, keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck – I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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