Astrid is on her back. Astrid is in the park, under a tree. Not quite under. Enough for shade but not so much that she can’t watch the clouds, which is exactly what she is doing. The clouds are those feathery ones, spread across the sky, she thinks, which reminds her of Prufrock, but they are not Prufrock clouds at all, she’s pretty sure of that. But what is the name of these clouds? The proper term, the Latin scientific name. They are not cumulonimbus or stratus and she can’t remember any more names from Year 7 Geography. Watching the clouds and not knowing their names makes Astrid feel uncomfortable. It’s hard to relax when you feel so ill informed, and that’s why she has come here, to the park, under the tree. It’s depressing, she thinks, Year 7 kids all over the country know this and I don’t. Astrid’s head fills with a stormy fury that the clouds seem to mock. The clouds scatter across the sky, cheerful and efficient, like they are trying to get an even spread. Like diligently buttered toast. No, not like toast for goodness sakes. The clouds spread and the tree smirks while Astrid lies beneath them both, like a patient etherised upon a table.


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