We meet the The Kandinsky at the leaving point. Our final photo is of the famous X that signifies you will soon leave the snow, and return to the surface. Not many people know it’s organic. The vessel is back to a cruise ship, one quite at home in the Pacific or Mediterranean. The crew know this is a return journey, and set the tone by pretending to get on with some work.
Everything from our cabin fitted in two bags. One for me, one for her. You don’t need souvenirs in Nadada. The Butter Mouse sat on a rucksack, paws under her chin.
‘You haven't told me when you will be back,’ she said.
I thought about staying. But after everything, what I want is a dose of normality. I want to walk down a street without the buildings floating away. I want a drink designed only for refreshment. But the biggest issue is that I want to work out what to do no next.
My act is gone. I understood that in the snow last week. There was a sweet spot where her new animation turned us into a double act, beyond what was before, in essence, a solo performance. But she is alive now. She is a citizen of Nadada, something I don’t think I can ever be. If I took her back, she would be felt and ping pongs balls before we reached the end of the tunnel. This will be a new start for me too.
The Butter Mouse shook my hand at the end of our goodbye, then adjusted the pillows on the bed so they were more to her liking. She starts a whole new run of her show tomorrow, and will be on stage in Lozowick by next week. She padded with me onto the deck when my boat arrived. The wooden vessel seated six people, and was perfectly normal. I did at least get to float down thanks to an umbrella Jean-Michel handed me. It stopped working the minute I touched my seat.
Our driver moved the boat away with long steady stokes of the oars, pure manual labour without a drop of the imagination. The Butter Mouse waved to me until The Kandinsky was a dot.
So that’s my journey over. We are back in the tunnel. The first flake of confetti just touched my shoulder. I wonder what the weather on the surface will be like, and what the date is up there. How I will get back into the swing of paying bills, getting my furniture out of storage, working out the cheapest bus pass. But after a year in the imagination, I wonder what I can achieve back on top of Earth.