A Little Mermaid
by Gentle Beth
My heart is fluttering, but I am sick to the pit of my stomach. I take off my shoes and socks and place them carefully under the changing room bench. Skirt off next, hung on my peg, followed by school blazer and blouse. Staring down at the grey concrete floor I unclasp my bra and finally slip my knickers down my legs and off my feet. Ignoring the whispers and gawps of the other girls I sit quietly on the wooden slatted bench, bare feet crossed, hands folded lightly in my lap. My face is flushed and burning and my gaze fixed downwards.
But I will not be broken. Mechanically I answer my name from the roll call and with satisfaction detect the disappointment in Miss Redding’s voice as she registers my quiet, unfussed nudity. She is a hateful bitch who delights in the humiliation and distress of her students. If you forget your PE kit you do not have the option of borrowing spares or sitting out the lesson, you have to do it in your underwear. If you forget your swimming costume, you are supposed to swim in bra and knickers, but I have gymnastics this afternoon and my kit bag which contains both my costume and leotard is sitting on a kitchen table ten miles away. If my underwear is soaked... well, I shudder to think what I will do for gym.
So I am to swim in the raw. This does not bother me in itself. I am comfortable with my body and I like the way I look. I wish I were a little taller and a little fuller in figure, but my body is well toned by years of dance and gymnastics training and I am secretly rather proud when I sunbathe with my younger sister or get undressed in the room that we still share. I know that my breasts are not well developed for my eighteen years and that my pubis is still a smooth bar of light down (intensive training wreaks havoc with your hormones). The other girls will stare and snigger when I am naked and exposed, but this is my body and I like it as it is. Besides, Sophie says my little breasts are very cute!
Sophie is my best friend and I adore her. I jokingly refer to her as my big sister (she is 5’3” to my 4’10” and she looks older than me). We do everything together and you couldn’t put a paper between us. I wish she were here now. She should be, but she is awful at timekeeping and is probably running late from her previous class. Not that she could do anything to help me. It is forbidden for girls to lend clothes to each other; you are supposed to take responsibility for your own mistakes. But her presence is always reassuring to me and I could do with seeing a friendly face just now.
I will not show weakness. I will not ask Miss Redding for kindness as she will show me none. I will only prolong my agony as she tells me what I know already. She is horrible. I have seen her reduce girls to tears as they are made to strip to their underwear in front of classmates. But she will not make me cry today.
Sophie arrives in a hurry and her face radiates empathy and concern as she sees me bare. But we are already walking out of the changing room towards the swimming pool, and we do not have time to speak. Air wafts gently across my breasts, between my legs and around my bottom, reminding me of my complete nudity. It is strangely comforting, but I keep my eyes fixed to the floor in front of me. I do not want to meet the mocking stares of my classmates.
We line up by the pool and I pray silently that I will be able to jump in quickly and partly conceal my nakedness in the lukewarm water. But Miss Redding, not to be denied her sport, lectures us on the poolside for a full five minutes and I place my hands in front of my privates for want of anything better to do with them. Miss Redding smiles bitterly at me and I curse myself for this futile attempt to preserve my modesty.
At last I am allowed to slip mercifully into the water. Sophie paddles to my side, but we are not allowed to talk. I like being naked in the water. It is more comfortable than wearing a bathing costume. I have swum naked at my cousin’s house before, when her parents were out, and I know how pleasant and natural it feels. I swim lengths on my front and luxuriate in the sensation of water passing over my bare bottom.
We take a break and Sophie finds her way to my side. She takes my hand in hers beneath the water and our fingers entwine. I know she would put her arms around me and cuddle me if she could, but physical intimacy is not allowed. She whispers in my ear, “You are a beautiful little mermaid. You have washed up on a strange and distant land amongst strangers. They whisper and point, but secretly they are overwhelmed by your loveliness and consumed by envy. Soon I will take you back to your rock by the heaving ocean”.
Wow! I am instantly transformed. As we walk back to the changing room I feel at least half a foot taller and I have no lingering shame at being naked. In the shower we are all equal once more and I am amused to see those who tormented me earlier look uncomfortable now that they are the ones who are nude and on display. I feel like the goddess my friend has taken me for, and at this moment I could happily walk the length of the school campus undressed as I am. Sophie offers me first use of her towel, but it is large enough for us both and I wrap us up together. I detect eyes looking enviously towards us as our cheeks brush and I gently towel off her hair, and I smile inwardly to myself.
Copyright© 2014 by Gentle Beth. All rights reserved. I welcome your comments. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org