Sour Buds

When life gives you lemons, get sour.

Freddy Guerrero, Special Contributor

This story was inspired by “Lemon Boy” by Cavetown.

“Ahhh!” Robin yelled with all his might, “why is my heart racing so fast? Am I going to die? I feel like I can’t breathe!” He thought to himself. Robin was home alone and didn’t know what to do; to stop this spiral of sensations.

“Maybe I just need fresh air.” He tried taking deep breaths as he left the room to go to the backyard.

Robin had had this sensation before and remembered that swinging helped relax him. Sitting on his old tire swing, he noticed something fall from his neighbor’s tree and plummet to the ground. He pulled the object from the ground like a weed. It looked like a plain lemon.

“Hey, what are you doing?” The lemon spoke.

“What the heck!” Robin chucked the talking lemon across the yard.

“What was that for?” said the lemon.

“AM I HALLUCINATING? HAVE I LOST MY SANITY!” Robin fell to the ground, hugging himself to cope with the confusion.

“Weirdo, I’m Lemon Boy. Who are you?” Lemon Boy questioned as he made his way back to Robin.

“I’m…Robin?” Robin peered at the fruit to reply.

“Aight, well, I’m your citrus friend. Your good old nice lemon pie.” Lemon Boy placed his leaf on him. His touch made Robin feel strangely safe, so he thought he might as well let him be.

Robin felt that he could catch his breath and regain his composure. He inquired about Lemon boy’s existence, but Lemon Boy just asked him about his existence.

“I mean… I don’t know why I exist. I want to think I have some purpose, but I often feel like a failure. I feel like some force above put me on this planet to fear everything around me,” Robin cried as he spoke while Lemon Boy sat by him.

“Listen, Boy, you need to live in fear because there is only pain and danger. Think about it. One day you could be at school, and shooting could occur. You could be driving when a drunk maniac going 100 miles crashes into you and kills you on the spot. You, humans, are pathetic and fragile. Fear is what keeps you alive,” Lemon Boy explained, as Robin helped him plant these seeds of fear by adding on other crazy events that could kill him.

Lemon Boy told Robin he would stick around to help him figure things out.

“I guess so.” Robin picked up Lemon Boy and headed inside.


Days passed, and Lemon Boy’s bittersweet started to rub off on Robin. Everyone around Robin had noticed he had changed dramatically. His parents saw that he hardly left his room, and when he did come out, he barely acknowledged anyone. Before, he would greet them with a hug and tell jokes to make them laugh. His buds at school noticed that he never wanted to hang out and seemed down.

Robin was walking out of class when he bumped into Nate.

“Yo! Robin! What’s up? Why do you seem so freaking down all the time? I talk to you, and it seems you don’t care. Plus, dude, how long has it been since you showered?” Nate asked Robin.

“None of your friends will understand you. Nate is your childhood friend, but he is annoyed by you. Maybe he was just your friend because he felt pity for you,” Lemon Boy whispered as he sat inside Robin’s shirt pocket.

Robin felt the tears filling in his eyes.

“Oh, come on! You can’t cry right now! What will the other boys think of you? Let me answer that. They will think you are a giant crybaby, and all the girls will think you’re a wimp.” Lemon Boy continued to fill up Robin’s head with nonsense.

“LEAVE ME ALONE! I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!” Robin pushed Nate out of the way as he ran toward his car. He jumped in his car and slammed his fist on the steering wheel.

“Why am I like this? Will anyone ever understand me? Why the heck was I put on this planet to suffer? What can I say to people when they ask what’s wrong? ‘Oh, hey, I’m freaking scared of leaving my room!’ I feel that everyone is judging every flipping thing that I do! I don’t feel anything at times! I struggle to get out of bed! Simple tasks like brushing my teeth feel like giant obstacles! I am a failure and an utter piece of trash.” Robin let his head rest on his steering wheel and cried.

“Huh, it seems your friends are more of the savory type. I mean, you, sir, smell like lemon zest, which is pretty neat—regardless of not showering for days. How about you drive home? Just skip the rest of your classes. You can lay in bed and forget about it all,” Lemon Boy spoke as he climbed out of Robin’s pocket to sit in the passenger side.

“I mean, it’s not like I have much to lose.” Robin dried his tears with his sleeve and started up the car.

“Robin! Wait!” Nate exclaimed as he ran toward the car.

“Leave me alone. Don’t worry about me,” Robin spoke as he rolled down the window.

Lemon Boy hid in the backseat so that Nate wouldn’t see him.

“Bro, come on. We’ve been friends since kindergarten.” Nate opened up the passenger door and sat down.”Remember when I landed on you? I had tried to show these girls I could do the monkey bars, but fell. Luckily you were walking under them to break my fall.”

Robin laughed. Who would’ve guessed that a broken arm would lead to a friendship? He ran his hand through his ginger hair to try to compose himself.

“Look, I’m just not myself right now. I want to be alone to figure out my thoughts,” Robin spoke calmly.

“I get it. Just call me if you need something.” Nate patted Robin’s shoulder and headed out of the car. As soon as Nate had left, Lemon Boy crawled back to the seat.

“Wow! He pities you a lot. You made him feel hella awkward,” Lemon Boy plainly stated, “now, let’s go home, so you don’t bother anyone else.”

“You’re right.” 

Robin drove home.

“Wait, how come whenever someone comes by, you hide Lemon Boy?” Robin inquired.

“Eh, I’m only seen by those who can be nice to a bitter boy like me.” Lemon Boy laid back in his seat.

“Are there more of your kind?”

“Oh, yeah! One in eight people has a citrus friend.”

“Why don’t I see them?”

“Ummm… we’re shy people.”


Once they arrived, Lemon Boy jumped into his pocket. He slowly opened the house door, so no one knew he was home. His mom walked down as he approached the stairs.

“Robin? Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” Mom questioned.

“Run! Don’t say a word!” Lemon Boy urged him.

Robin booked it up the stairs and slammed his bedroom door shut. He fell to the floor.

Robin felt terrible. What was wrong with him? Why did he think this way? Did anyone else feel this way? Would this be his every day? 

Lemon Boy slapped him and climbed onto his shoulder and said,  “Kid, get a hold of yourself. I am here. Regardless if everyone hates you, which they do, I will still be here for you. You are broke and honestly unlovable. That’s no biggie for this nice lemon pie.” 

“Robin! Please let me in. Listen, I’m worried you haven’t been acting like yourself,” Robin’s mom begged him from the other side of the door.

“Mom, just go away!”

Robin’s mom refused to leave and sat at the other side of the door.

“Son, listen, I know you are dealing with something. Whether it be a physical or a mental issue, I am here for you.”

“What do you mean a mental issue?” Robin cracked open the door.

“Hmm, how do I explain it… Have you been having thoughts or worries over things that may seem a tad unlikely, but to you, it feels like they’re just seconds away from happening?”

“Like, what if clouds run out of rain?”

“Exactly, or what if Lemon Boy won’t grow any longer?”

“Wait! How do you know?”

It turns out that Robin’s mom has a citrus friend of her own and has learned how to manage. She told Robin that, at first, it could be an overwhelming experience, and it may appear that they’re protecting you; however, the reality was that they were just as worried and confused as you were. These sour buds could also keep him from doing the things he enjoys. 

Robin questioned how she kept her Sour Bud at bay. Robin’s mom has gone to a support group and a Citrus friend whisperer that helps keep her buddy calm.


As time passed, Robin grew to understand that they would live together forever, but this didn’t mean he’d have to live isolated and afraid. He felt empowered to learn that others shared his experience. 

Robin was able to make more friends who also struggled to keep their citrus friend at bay. The biggest lesson he knew was that there’s nothing wrong with being the bitterest boys in town.