The Year of the Flood (Margaret Atwood)

Among the Gardeners, weddings were simple affairs. Both parties had to proclaim in front of witnesses that they loved each other. They exchanged green leaves to symbolize growth and fertility and jumped over a bonfire to symbolize the energy of the universe, then declared themselves married and went to bed. For divorces they did the whole thing in reverse: a public statement of non-love and separation, the exchange of dead twigs, and a swift hop over a heap of cold ashes.

A standing complaint of Lucerne’s — which was sure to come up if Toby wasn’t quick enough with the Poppy — was that Zeb had never invited her to do the green-leaf and bonfire-leaping ceremony with him. “Not that I think it means anything,” she’d say. “But he must think it does, because he’s one of them, right? So by not doing it, he’s refusing commitment. Don’t you agree?”

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