Click, Flash


Grace stands in an ethereal Palace of Chic, clad in a stunning emerald dress. Her hands on her hips, she beckons you to come to her side. She is the Woman You Want to Know.

And the camera flashes. Style, Romance, Spice, and Ambition flank Grace. They’re the men at her side, adjusting her pose with each shot. Come-hither smiles. No teeth.

And the camera flashes.

Jean Paul Kelly yells instructions to his moving canvas as he snaps shot after shot. He’s our photographer for the evening. We’re on a promotional shoot for a social club I host in town. There are five co-hosts, each with our own flavor, our own trademark personalities: Grace, Style, Romance, Spice, and Ambition.

“YES!” Jean Paul cheers as he reviews a shot. We’re suddenly off the lavish sofa that serves as our setting and at his side to stare into the camera’s screen. We sigh in collective relief. All five of us look phenomenal. The lighting is flawless. This will make the final cut.

We shoot two more scenes and, another hour and a half later, we’re done. When JP is satisfied he has what he needs, we sprawl on the sofa we used as a prop. Ultra-plush.

We spent the day preparing ourselves for tonight. Our meticulously chosen wardrobe, handled delicately as not to create a single wrinkle, holds no priority now. We’re exhausted.

“I can never wear this suit again,” I say in regard to the silver, shiny ensemble I’m wearing.

“Love, no one would remember that thing anyway,” Brandon, our Style, responds. We all laugh. Our humor is insatiable, silly, uniquely…us.

“Dinner?” someone suggests, though no response is needed. In these clothes? Of course. We’re all dressed up and ready to play.

We walk down Hennepin. The streets are glossy with a recent rain, romantic. Downtown’s sparkle reflects on the asphalt. The five of us savor this moment. We stop our banter as the wind blows through our jackets. Mana’s–our Grace’s–dress twirls in the wind.

Five friends. Five kids still playing dress-up. One thought: There is romance tonight. It twinkles in the flash of a camera, a reflection of a dream in our eye.

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