As a daily reminder of the recent loss of my husband, dinner, eaten alone, is one of the saddest. It all starts in the supermarket where the portions you can buy are either"for two" or "for four" . The fridge on the boat is only small which limits the amount of leftovers I can keep. So every other day, as yet another reminder, I throw Max's portion away.
When I'm eating I usually play some music or watch the news on my ipad, more as a distraction than a consolation.
One evening, just for a change and a treat I decided to step over the hurdle of going into a restaurant alone.
Why not, I thought, there are always a number of men sitting alone at a restaurant, watching football on the telly.
When I got there all the tables I could see were ready laid for four but I sat down at one with a view over the harbour so I could keep an eye on my boat.
Groups and couples who arrived long after me were greeted and given a menu. I was ignored.
At last, when the waiter had nothing else to do, he came and asked me if I was waiting for somebody.
When I told him I wasn't, he showed me to a smaller table with a nice view of the fridge. The good thing was that, having my back to everyone else, they couldn't see the look on my face, it might have spoiled their meal.
I ordered dinner but needless to say, I didn't enjoy it. I just ate half of it as fast as I could, paid and took the dinghy back to the blessed solitude of my boat.
I don't think I'll try that experiment again. I don't want people to feel sorry for me and I don't want special attention, I just want to be treated as a normal human being.
Perhaps I'm not.
This situation is not anything specially related to the Greek attitude to women, I've experienced the same thing at home.
Just when you think none of the other customers have noticed , the waitress comes along and asks very loudly : ARE YOU ALONE? Then everyone turns round, stares, and I feel like something the dog brought in.
My mother in law experienced the same when she was widowed in Finland twenty years ago. I thought times had changed but it must have something to do with our "culture".