Well, it did go rather smoothly, on the whole. The ride form the border to the Pleasure Park was amazing. They were absolutely silent. Their mouths were open most of the time while Louish pointed out certain thngs to them. I think they thought they were dreaming.
In the Meet room, they listened ever so quietly. We told them about all the activities they would be doing and what to do if they wanted to stop or if they couldn’t see the rest of the group. But I don’t think there was any danger of anyone getting lost. They were all a bit nervous. So much quieter than they normally are. But they seemed to enjoy the wheat biscuits we gave them and the banana milk.
The Cinders Ash ride was a success and they livened up a bit then. It puts them all into the story. They had to choose who to be – there were Cinders, the prince, the fairy godmother, the two ugly sisters and the horrid stepmother. Or rats, or Butane, the servant. Funnily enough, there was an equal amount of all of them. I don’t think the Adulkis understood the story too well, but they enjoyed all the costumes and they really loved the gliding dance at the end. Most Normal Zoners know that story. It only occurred to me today what an appropriate little story it was for the Adulkis. Their lives are about to be transformed, too. What’s left of them.
They did find the climb up Ever Mountian a bit of a strain. We forget sometimes that they’re all getting old and that getting old, when you’re a Z Zoner can be quite painful. We’re so used to them tumbling around like small children. But bits of them don’t work so well any more. They had to holo them up most of the way. But they seemed to like the views.
They loved the Lily gardens. They wanted to pick the lilies and we had quite a job stopping them. I explained that they could buy some from the shops to take back home, but of course, they couldn’t understand the idea of a shop, or even of buying things.
The picnic was nice and we were able to sit out in the Real Meadow. The sun was warm enough. Josie came and sat be me, and the insisted on holding my hand all the time afterwards. I was quite pleased, really. I thought they’d all forgotten me. It made me sad, remembering my time with them in the Zone. And remembering how proud Kaleem was of me. He said I was so good with them. They all started remembering me after lunch. You know, we always think of the Adulkis as really being so simple, but they were all tactful enough not to mention Kaleem to me. I think they understand a lot more than we think they do.
They loved the animals. And they did get so excited about feeding the goats and samese cats. More like the Adulkis I used to know. It was interesting watching the animals as well. It was almost as if animals understood them, too. They didn’t seem to mind how much they were prodded and pulled. They really seemed to understand that they were dealing with creatures who had perhaps even less understanding than they did.
We hologrammed them into apartments at London Harbour, on to Ski Mountian and then on to a veriglass floating transporter with views over F and G Zones. You should have seen their faces when we gave them the holograms. They were so proud. It’s all such simple stuff to us. We Normal Zoners take everything so much for granted. They were fascinated.
The shopping was fun. I think old-time shopping with tokens to represent credits would fool even us Normal Zoners. But they were coping with being able to choose, not understanding even how credits work, and the complexity of using the tokens. The staff there were getting quite worried. Then Louish got that gleam in her eye.
“Oh never mind,” she said. “Just let them have all they want. Charge it all to my account.”
They did choose some funny things to take back with them. But I’m afraid I did end up crying after all. Thomas bought me (well, he brought it out of the shop, goodness knows whether he or Louish paid for it) a fluffy monkey.
“He can be your boyfriend,” he said. “I can’t. I’ve got to go back to the Z Zone.” He looked so sad.It was all over so soon. I had such a lump in my throat as I waved them goodbye. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to work with them in the future. And I hope we haven’t done any harm by showing them a bit the life in the Normal Zones.