‘And Ygritte Says’ by Alexeil April (http://alexielapril.deviantart.com/art/and-Ygritte-says-306166334). Used under Creative Commons license.
Every day, when I leave my office for lunch, I run a gauntlet of people collecting for charity.
‘Hi,’ one said to me just last week, trying to hold my gaze with a suspiciously large smile. ‘What’s your name?’
For a moment, I contemplated the strangeness of her approach (opening the conversation by asking my name), and then the hunger in my stomach. ‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘I’m in a rush’.
As I got away, I wondered why I had said ‘sorry’? After all, what on earth did I have to be sorry about?
Maybe I apologised because I’m British and I have had this kind of defensive politeness drilled into me from an early age. After all, I hadn’t given the charity collector what she wanted – and these are just the sort of people to hand out…
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