First Passage – Chapter 15: A Marriage for Cocktails
“Elia! Elia!” I heard a voice behind me call, in Tata’s apartment on December 6, 1968. I turned and who should it be but Onassis. […] Taken aback, I said in Greek, “Hello, how are you?” And the next moment, I had another surprise –Onassis said nothing, turned like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, and walked away.
My mother had been sitting nearby and saw the whole exchange. Later I asked her what had happened. Why had he stalked off suddenly after greeting me so warmly?
“Well, he knew you as a little boy, and now you were stand-offish,” my mother said.
“Stand-offish? I said hello and asked him how he was.”
“But you spoke to him in the plural, which sounds so cold in Greek.”
What could I do? I thought. I couldn’t revise the Greek language to invent a whole new form of address.
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