Music Monday: Lean on Me by Bill Withers

A fictional interpretation of a song by Bill Withers

A bad day is not a bad life.

I keep trying to convince myself of this, but it’s getting harder. This morning has not been going at all as planned. My alarm didn’t go off, so I woke up too late, and I had to stay up past three am trying to piece together the finishing touches of my presentation which I am now struggling to carry while walking in heels much too high for my feet and a dress much too stiff to move in.

A bad day is not a bad life.

Why oh why did I insist on doing everything myself?


I value my independence.

Perhaps too much. I always have. My mother worked endless shifts at the hospital to pay off the gambling debt my unemployed father never ceased to incur. I learned from an early age how to take care of myself.

I never learned how to depend on others, so I don’t.

But sometimes, I could really use someone to lean on.


A bad day is not a bad life.

But now I’m falling flat on my face. My dress rips and the skin on my knees is bleeding. The pieces of my presentation scatter around me, nearly becoming trampled by the hoard of fellow students who giggle as they pass by.

“Sucks to be you,” someone says.

I’m too busy trying not to cry to respond.

I slowly pick myself up, gather the pieces of my presentation, put them back in order. I can’t do anything about my dress, but I’ll manage. I wipe the blood from my knees and begin walking, slower this time, to my classroom.

When I reach the stairs, I look up and sigh. I consider briefly not going to class today. I can afford the failing grade. Or perhaps I can make it up. My professor loves me. Surely…

“Hey, I got your text. I’m here to help,” my best friend, Johanna says.

She grabs my presentation from my hands.

“My text?” I ask because I don’t remember asking her for help.

“Yeah, you woke up late, and you’ve been stressing about this presentation for weeks. I figured you could use some help.”

I smile. “Thanks.”

“No problem. What happened to your knees?”

“I fell.”

“Oh my. Okay, well, lean on me, and let’s get up these stairs.”

And together, we bear the load.

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