‘You just gave him some money, why not me?’ screamed the homeless man as he followed her along the High street.
‘I'm sorry’ pleaded Sally as she increased her stride, immediately trying to put some distance between the man and herself.
‘I've not got any change left!’ Her face reddened as she told the lie.
He'd seen her count out the change for the first man, then put the remainder back into her purse. She'd had her reasons for giving him some money of course, those mostly being focused around sympathy for the small, sleeping puppy she saw lying next to the penny whistle the man had been playing a few moments earlier. But this second guy! He was just there, demanding, expectant and angry. Almost as if it was her fault he was on the street. She'd seen no reason to give him any change, and as a consequence found herself being sworn at again by someone she just wanted to leave her alone.
After verbally abusing her for another few metres, the homeless man quietened down, then gave up. Choosing instead to focus his energy on moderately less mobile targets in the form of an elderly couple who happened to be window-shopping nearby.
Despite his departure it didn’t taken long for her already upset and weary mind to again take on the sense of fear and apprehension that had plagued her all the way through the night. And as it did on occasions like this perform it's normal trick of exaggerating an already negative situation to the extent that only the most serious of effort would be required for Sally's distracted mind to focus on even the most simple of tasks.