“Ah yes, Miss Tami Smithers,” the Dean said. All the blood drained from Tami’s face. The Dean looked across at her. “I see you’ve volunteered.” She looked at him in fear. She had done no such thing. He responded with a steely glare disguised as a smile. Nobody else could tell. “We’d be glad to see your gymnastics skill. I thought you were shy. But let me say, folks, there are some things of which Miss Smithers is justifiably proud.” He looked around at the crowd. “She is also a straight-A student in mathematics, her major. But watching you integrate a fourth-level derivative would be rather a dry divertissement, and for some of us, downright intimidating.” There was some chuckling from people who had gone into arts or the humanities because they didn’t know how to add.
As Tami gaped at the Dean in fear, he looked at her with a patient smile which masked a gleam of threat. And now the faces of Mr. Noyes and Mr. Comstock, as if on cue, appeared behind the Dean’s. Their expressions were neutral except for cocked eyebrows which made their expectation of what she should do -- what she MUST do -- all too clear. Why are you hesitant, Miss Smithers? You’re a religious nudist, right? You don’t believe in modesty, right??
Jen nudged Tami with her elbow. “Good for you Tam,” she whispered. “Show them your stuff!”
No, no . . . Tami found herself lurching forward, as if in a dream. She had a polite smile frozen on her face as she walked through the space the grownups in front made for her. She looked down and once again saw her bare feet, with the tacky white toenail polish and the ostentatious toe ring, treading the soft carpet among the elegant shoes and socks and hose. And now she made it to the front ring of people around the circular clearing that had acted as a performing space for Deneisha and Roger. She was now directly across from the Dean and Mr. Noyes and Mr. Comstock. She carefully kept her shoulders back, kept her hands at her sides, while her face burned at the awareness of so many eyes burrowing into her full frontal nudity. She glanced up at the big portrait of old Joshua Campbell. whose eyes seemed to be looking directly at her. His long gray beard and Old Testament scowl glared down a harsh judgment of disapproval on this young girl’s brazen nakedness. In his day even wearing a knee-length skirt was probably considered shameful. And now -- here I am -- little Tami Smithers -- all bare!!
Suddenly a thought hit her. “S - sorry but . . . th - there’s not enough room for a floor exercise. I’d need space for the runup. B - bigger than this room,” she added, looking back over her bare shoulder at the wall.
“Surely there are stationary exercises you can do.”
“Tami,” Jen called out. “Do the handstand backwalk! You know, with the scissors and split!”
Tami looked back with a tortured smile. Jen wants to help. If only she knew . . . !
“Yes, that sounds like a good idea,” the Dean said. “Go ahead.”
Tami gulped and padded to the center of the circle. With eyes fixed on a distant place -- a place, maybe, where she could be all covered up in clothes like everyone else -- she assumed the gymnast’s opening position, arms out at her sides, chest thrust out, feeling her breasts wobble. Her toes gripped the carpet. In high school she always felt overexposed in her leotard, even with other leotarded teammates nearby. It was the one thing she didn’t like about gymnastics. She always wished she could wear slippers and tights like they did in the old days, rather than perform in bare legs and bare feet. Now, totally naked and solo, was a thousand times worse. She would love to have just that leotard back!
She shook and felt a warm flush over her breasts which she knew had to be visible. She said a little prayer and began.
What Jen was referring to was a minor floor exercise lasting about two minutes. It was not as showy as the big set pieces, with mid-air somersaults and lutzes. For Tami it was an easy run-through. As she did her handstand, came up again, then down again, and scissored her legs above, toes pointing at the ceiling, she tried as hard as she could to pretend she was all alone, doing this in a studio in front of a mirror. But it was impossible. There was the presence of the crowd filling the air. The occasional coughing somewhere from old throats. And now someone said, “Very impressive.” An older woman, perhaps not meaning to be heard so well, said, “Amazing, how young girls are so flexible.”
And now the Dean said, “We really should see this better. Harald, could you turn up the rheostat?”
The crystal chandelier directly above her, with its dozens of little decorative bulbs, grew brighter than the sun. Tami’s upside-down face saw the sharpening of the shadows of her breasts on the carpet. She felt like a well-lit display in a museum.
On her hands, she kicked vigorously, her toes pointing to one side of the room then another. She heard a woman’s voice say, “I’ve long thought that gymnastics was a sport that should be performed in the nude. There is no need for clothing. In fact it probably would hinder her movements.”
The Dean chuckled and said, “Vanessa, I’m afraid the rest of our team will have to stay fully uniformed. Only Miss Smithers can be naked.”
Damn! Tami thought. I’m the exception to everything. Everyone else has clothes and shoes and coats to cover themselves with. I have nothing! All bare!
And, all bare, Tami Smithers, gymnast, all 105 pounds of her, held the rapt attention of the assembly. The men who made up most of the crowd would never forget the exhibition of this Miss Smithers and her perfect body. She was a few years younger than the bodies they lusted after -- indeed, she was just out of high school and to them seemed hardly more than a child. But the men, and the women, were impressed by the tight muscles, the thin but strong limbs, the concave tummy, the trim butt cheeks, the nascent beauty of a teenage athlete. And the calm but serious face.
And now the last part of the exercise, the big handstand split. Tami took a deep breath and down she dove, onto her straightened arms. Her hands spread and braced against the floor carefully. The carpet was a little firmer than a performance mat but not too bad. . . With her upside down face dully looking at the forest of shoes and boots and pants and skirts, she spread her legs to a split.
“Remarkable,” a man said.
She was about to close her legs when the old professor in the beret said, “What a wonderful illustration. . .”
The Dean said, “Miss Smithers, could you hold this position for a moment?”
Tami nodded, her loose hanging hair reaching the carpet and sweeping across it as she nodded. A strange feeling. During meets she always kept her hair tied back.
She felt Professor Latimer’s presence behind her. “You see here the unabashed female form, in a nonsexual context.”
“Can it really be nonsexual?” a woman from behind asked. It was Professor Brignon of the Art Department. She spoke with a French accent. Not Qubecois, like sometimes heard on the radio from nearby Canada, but French. “It was Velazquez, I think, declaring that any artist who denied the feeling sexual while painting a nude was the hypocrite most high.”
“In this case I think it would not be,” the Dean said. “Miss Smithers’s nudity is not about sex. As I have mentioned, her deportment has been exemplary, in fact demure.”
“She is rather too young for me to be aroused,” a man from some distance away said. There was a murmur of agreement.
“As an 18 year old,” the Dean said, “Miss Smithers is a fine specimen of young womanhood, both in body and in mind.” He said this, of course, to assure everyone that Tami was not 17, or younger.
“Note the tendons,” Latimer said, pointing to the tightness of Tami’s anatomy on either side of her vaginal lips, “how exquisitely they perform their function of keeping the legs apart yet united. Also the lush forest of pubic hair. So often hidden, tucked away shamedly, the province of prostitutes and loose women, seen here in its proper place, a glory of the female form.”
“Come on, Tami,” Jen enthused. “You can split further than that!”
“Indeed?” the Dean responded, with just enough of a hint of insinuation for Tami to get the message. Gotta show I’m not modest. Tami’s concave tummy inhaled and exhaled, and she spread her legs out further, until they were in fact bent further than 180 degrees, her legs actually aimed slightly downward now to each side. In a further demonstration of her virtuosity, she flexed her feet, and spread her toes. Her toes now pointed in toward her hands, which now shifted slightly as they continued supporting her weight, pressed against the carpet.
“Remarkable flexibility,” a woman said. “I don’t see how they do it.” Tami’s butt bones jutted up on each side of her crotch. Her entire lower body was distorted by the stretch.
And now she felt her labia open, and felt the air from the room start to go in there. It was an odd feeling -- and then she realized to her horror that her inner cave was illuminated by the overhead light.
Oh God . . . These grownups can see right down inside me!
She squeezed her eyes shut. Her face burned crimson -- which the assembled persons, fortunately, attributed to her being upside down and the blood rushing down.