If I were going to convert to any religion I would probably choose Catholicism because it at least has female saints and the Virgin Mary.

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More from Margaret Atwood

In this daydream, Winifred and her friends, wreaths of money on their heads, are gathered around Sabrina’s frilly white bed while she sleeps, discussing what they will bestow upon her. She’s already been given the engraved silver cup from Birks, the nursery wallpaper with a frieze of domesticated bears, the starter pearls for her single-strand pearl necklace, and all the other golden gifts, perfectly comme il fault, that will turn to coal when the sun rises. Now they’re planning the orthodontist and the tennis lessons and the piano lessons and the dancing lessons and the exclusive summer camp. What hope has she got?

I wonder which is preferable, to walk around all your life swollen up with your own secrets until you burst from the pressure of them, or to have them sucked out of you, every paragraph, every sentence, every word of them, so at the end you’re depleted of all that was once as precious to you as hoarded gold, as close to you as your skin – everything that was of the deepest importance to you, everything that made you cringe and wish to conceal, everything that belonged to you alone – and must spend the rest of your days like an empty sack flapping in the wind, an empty sack branded with a bright fluorescent label so that everyone will know what sort of secrets used to be inside you?

There was old sex in the room and loneliness, and expectation, of something without a shape or name. I remember that yearning, for something that was always about to happen and was never the same as the hands that were on us there and then.

The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total.

All I can hope for is a reconstruction: the way love feels is always approximate.