Glenn Close on a Dark New York Night

Her head was covered and her collar pulled up, and she seemed frightened.

After a divorce, I moved to a place about as far from Oklahoma as I could think of: the state of New York. People from the South imagine that New York is a place separated by distance and culture to the point where there is no common ground on which to build.

I ended up living in Peekskill and found an apartment, which was a real accomplishment. Employment was a different story. All the nonprofit hours I had racked up in Oklahoma meant nothing in New York, so I found a job in a bookstore in Mount Kisco in Westchester County, the second-richest county in America. There, I came face to face with wealth--not my own but that of the customers, and for the first time I saw nannies who seemed glad for an opportunity to sit down and visit with the other young women in the same situation.

I worked in the children's department, which rang with all the sound effects of the various books in stock: trains, monkeys, music, and toilets flushing. I was usually helping more than one person at a time because my Southern politeness didn't know how to say I was too busy to help another.

It was one of those days when I was trying to help three different customers that Glenn Close walked into the department carrying Paula Fox's book _Slave Dancer._ Her head was covered and her collar pulled up, and she seemed frightened. I recognized her, but because of her frightened demeanor and layers of clothes, to others she might appear homeless.

She never said a word but thrust the book into my face. I determined that she wanted to know if we had the book, but we didn't. I told her so, and she seemed to evaporate into the ethers.

Whenever I have seen her in public appearances since then, she is confident and competent, with impeccable makeup. It is hard to reconcile that Glenn Close with the one I saw one night in New York.


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