It’s happened before, I tell the officer.
He flicks his gaze to the red-faced woman breathing heavily opposite me, the other side of his outstretched arms. Around us people are standing, staring, muttering.
Sir, you could have grounds to press charges, he informs me. I startle. Sir.
I blink. He’s younger than me in his bright yellow jacket. His arm, the one pointing at me, is shaking slightly. I focus on the palm of his glove as he swings his head left, right, to me, to her.
The woman is glaring at me. It’s taking her effort.
I can’t keep her stare for long. My eyes snap instead to a pretty blonde girl in a pink coat across the road running after something I can’t see. Her hood has come loose on one side and flaps behind her.
Sir? The officer’s voice brings me back.
I shake my head. No.
My cheek feels rough where I wiped the spittle off with the sleeve that hangs over my hand. The crowd has begun to disperse into shops, into cars, down sidestreets. Nothing to see here. Just a face half-remembered from a newspaper and a mad woman.
There’s a shrug in his eyes. He turns his palms outward and his arms drop. He seems disappointed.
The woman looks me up and down with a curled lip, shakes her head and defiantly pushes her pram down the street.
But I never touched her. I swear I never touched her.