Sour Sweet Sorrow

by Nico-Stone Rupan

First published

After dinner one night, Mr. Sweet suddenly declares that you and he need to talk. What he has to say shocks and enrages you. Even worse, Sour Sweet overhears every bit of it.

Since your first date with Sour Sweet, she has been cursing her dad, claiming that he has been completely ignoring her ever since she was diagnosed with her condition. All of that time, you had pretty much written this belief off as one of her delusions. However, after dinner one night, Mr. Sweet suddenly declares that you and he need to talk. What he has to say shocks and enrages you. Even worse, Sour Sweet overhears every bit of it.

Cover art by Kul

(My fourth featured story! - 5/23 and 5/24/16)

Chapter 1: Uncertainties

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Sour Sweet was the last to notice that something was different. What she had noticed were the odd, even sometimes freaked out looks she had been receiving from her boyfriend, friends, other CPA students, and teachers the whole day. Eventually, she realized what was amiss. Her voice. She had been speaking normally for an entire day. She cheered with pure elation, gathered her friends into a bone-crushing group hug, and gave her boyfriend the smooch of his life right in front of Principal Cinch without a single flying feather to give about her “No Public Displays of Affection in the Halls” policy.

Sour Sweet eagerly ran to her weekly therapy session after school. She couldn’t wait until she could demonstrate to Doctor Chrysalis this giant leap in her progress...

“She sells seashells by the sea shore.” Sour Sweet giggled adorably. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” She clapped with joy. “I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.” She fist pumped the air. “I can’t believe it! This is the longest I’ve gone without a mood swing forcing my voice to switch tones!”

“I have to say, Sour Sweet, I’m very impressed,” Doctor Chrysalis commended, scribbling in her notes.

Sour Sweet sighed in relief. “It’s about time. Everyone has been telling me that it would happen one day. It’s like my grandmamma always used to say: ‘Patience is a virtue’.”

“Wise words indeed, but speaking of patience, in all honesty, I’m beginning to lose mine,” Doctor Chrysalis stated, suddenly sounding rather displeased. “When can I schedule a meeting with your father?”

Sour Sweet fidgeted and began twiddling her thumbs. “He’s busy. You know how it is. Long hours at work, no time to play or meet with daughter’s therapists…”

Doctor Chrysalis gave her a look. “You haven’t told him that I want to see him yet, have you?”

THE BASTARD doesn’t want to talk to me, so why should I talk to him?!” Sour Sweet roared. She then slapped her forehead. “Well, there goes THAT record!

“Sour, I’ve been asking you to tell him for weeks. It’s very important that I speak with him and get an EE measurement.”

Sour Sweet lifted an eyebrow. “What’s an EE measurement?

“EE stands for ‘Expressed Emotion’. It’s a scale of a person’s verbal positive and negative attitudes about the one with the condition while they’re not present.”

Sour Sweet rolled her eyes. “You mean shit they say behind your back. Leave it to therapists to come up with overly-technical terms for something that’s standard high school experience.

“Whether or not there is a supportive atmosphere within the family can mean the difference between recovery and relapse," Doctor Chrysalis gravely explained. "Now, if there is some trouble anywhere in that regard, then we should take it seriously.”

My dad is ashamed of me. End of story. Let’s move on now, shall we? So, in lunch today, Indigo and Lemon got into a mashed potato eating contest and boy was it –

“Sour Sweet, I want to meet your father,” Doctor Chrysalis interrupted, sternly. “Soon.”

Sour Sweet threw her arms up. “You got our number, you call him!

“I’d rather give you the chance to overcome your angst towards him.”

Sour Sweet shook her head in confusion. “Why is it so important to do anything, anyway? I’m going to be graduating and going off to college soon. I won’t ever need to see him again.

“Sour, a strained relationship with a parent can affect you in ways you may not even realize. Especially if it’s an opposite sex relationship, such as daughter and father. That’s why I’ve been concerned that you may be replacing your father with your boyfriend.”

There you go accusing me of incest again,” Sour Sweet growled.

“It’s not incest. What I’m talking about is on a purely psychological level.”

You know that I can barely understand any of that psychobabble mumbo jumbo.

Doctor Chrysalis adjusted her glasses. Sour Sweet grimaced. Every time she adjusted her glasses, she was getting ready to drop some mad psych.

“Alright, let’s review your current relationship situation objectively. First, your father began to ignore you. Then, when the first boy who had a lot of nice things to say came along, you immediately demanded that he go out with you. You’ve dated for only a few months, most of that time you’ve spent with him being on school grounds. And now, you pretty much consider yourself already engaged and even have your first child’s name picked out. That first child whom you think you’re going to have, by the way, being a product of your hallucinations and dreams. Do you see the cause and effect I’m talking about, now? Doesn’t it seem like things are going too fast here for a healthy relationship? What part of any of that seems normal?”

Sour Sweet didn’t say a word for a moment as she uncomfortably mulled that detailed summation over. In a way, it just sounded to her like Freudian nonsense. Then again, Doctor Chrysalis believed it, so perhaps there was something to it.

She then suddenly waved a hand dismissively. “Ah, normal is so overrated! Come on, it’s not like my daddy issues are making me go into STRIPPING or anything, right?

“Maybe not, but there are a lot worse situations that you could be in. Too many with your condition have not fared so well." Doctor Chrysalis reached out and took Sour Sweet’s hand. "You’ve been very fortunate to have had the amount of support you've had so far, Sour Sweet. I hope you understand that."

“I guess I do,” Sour sighed, reverting back to her serious tone.

“Wouldn’t you like to try to get back to the good times you had with your father, Sour Sweet?” Doctor Chrysalis urged supportively.

“We did used to be so happy,” Sour Sweet admitted. “We played board games together. We went on little father-daughter dates. He went to all my archery competitions to cheer me on. Everything was nice before the diagnosis two years ago. I suppose I do kind of wish we could go back to the way it was…”

Later, Sour Sweet exited the psychotherapy clinic with her head down low. A lot was on her mind just as there usually was after a session. However, these thoughts worried her. Was she moving too fast with her relationship? Or even worse, was the only reason she was dating her boyfriend was to fill up a void? What if the love she felt for her boyfriend… was just another delusion? How was she going to work up the nerve to speak to her father in order to help fix that void?


The voice snapped her out of her worries. She lifted her head up to see one of the subjects of her distress smiling at her.

Her boyfriend.

Chapter 2: Deep End (2ND Person)

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“Oh, uh, hey,” Sour Sweet hesitantly greets you.

You frown. “Have a heavy session today? You were so excited about it before.”

“Doctor Chrysalis wants to see my dad.”

Your smile picks right back up. “Well, that sounds great! You need to start talking to him.”

Sour Sweet instantly scowled. “TALK, TALK, TALK!!! Why does everyone want me to TALK so much for, huh?! Why can’t I TALK to just those that DESERVE my attention!?!

You hold your hands out to try to calm her down. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sour! I just meant maybe it’s not as bad as your head makes you think it is.”

Those were so the wrong words to say.


You awkwardly avert your gaze. “Well, I, uh…”

Her hands shove roughly into your chest in frustration and she begins stomping off. You run after her.

“Wait, Sour! I’m so sorry! Of course you know more about what’s going on than I do! I’m an idiot!”

I don’t know what pisses me off more. The fact that you think this is all in my head…” Sour Sweet abruptly stops and stares down at the ground. “… or the possibility that you might be right. I hate second-guessing everything that goes on around me… or even how I feel. This is hell.”

You gently embrace her. “I know it is. You just got to listen to Doctor Chrysalis, okay?”

She looks up straight into your eyes. “But what if I don’t like everything she has to say?”

“What do you mean?” you ask, puzzled.

“She thinks… n-nothing. Just forget it. Look, just do me a favor, alright?”


“Come have dinner at my house tonight. I want you to be with me when I try to talk to him.”


Mr. and Mrs. Sweet always seemed to be bit of an odd couple to you. Mrs. Sweet was always fun to be around, being pretty giddy and outgoing. Mr. Sweet, on the other hand, was aloof and usually preoccupied with something involving his job. In your opinion, that was where Sour Sweet’s mind was likely getting the idea of him ignoring her from. Sure, a parent’s workaholic behavior could be annoying, but it wouldn’t necessarily be considered full-blown neglectful.

The four of you sit down for a delectable meal of vegetable lasagna. Mrs. Sweet tries her best to start table conversation with various bits of small talk. Sour Sweet stays mostly silent as she stares down at her plate. After a while, you begin to consider saying something in order to create an opening for her to speak up. That’s when you feel a tap at your hip. You look down to see Sour Sweet’s open hand. It’s shaking. Immediately catching on, you lower your hand to take it. She squeezes firmly.

“Hey, dad?” Sour Sweet speaks up.

Mr. Sweet just continues to eat.

She squeezes your hand even harder. “D-dad?”

“Honey?” Mrs. Sweet pokes her husband’s shoulder.

“Hm?” Mr. Sweet mutters.

“Sour wants you,” Mrs. Sweet sternly informs.

Mr. Sweet’s eyes lift up to his daughter.

Sour Sweet gulps. “Uh, Doctor Chrysalis said that she wants to meet with you.”

Mr. Sweet stares at her in a strange silence. His attention then abruptly goes back to eating nonchalantly. “Hm. I’ve been wondering when she would. I’ll call tomorrow to schedule.”

Sour Sweet slowly lets out the breath that she had been holding. You stroke your thumb lovingly across her hand as congratulations.

Soon, you were finished with your plate. You get up to take it along with your glass to the kitchen. Mr. Sweet also finishes with his and follows you.

As you put the plate and glass in the sink, you hear, “Let’s talk.”

You freeze and look at Mr. Sweet as he puts his plate and glass away, keeping eye contact with you at every step. This is certainly a surprise. He’s never seemed interested in you before.

“Uh, sure. What about, Mr. Sweet?”

“Sour, of course.”

You nod. “Yeah, what about her?”

“Look, you seem like a good kid. I do appreciate you keeping my daughter company all of this time, but I’m afraid it’s gotten to the point where there’s nothing more to do now.”

Your brow furrows in confusion. “What do you mean?”

Mr. Sweet crosses his arms. “It’s time for you to break up with her.”

Your mouth gapes. “Wh-what?”

“I don’t like this any more than you do, believe me, but Sour will need to be committed to a hospital soon where she can get the proper care that she needs. I’m sure that’s what Doctor Chrysalis is going to want to talk to me about.”

Your blood begins to boil. “I’m pretty sure that’s not what she – ”

“Haven’t you ever looked up any information about schizophrenia?”

Your fists clench. “Of course I have.”

“Then you must know what happens to a great number of schizophrenics. One website I’ve seen estimated that about half of them don’t recover, even with the treatment. Twenty percent of the half that does just ends up relapsing within a year. Developing drinking and drug abuse problems is even common for them. Face it, the odds are against her.”

It’s the way in which he's speaking these things which is enraging you the most. He’s saying them so sincerely. Does he really believe that you would think in these terms? Does he truly believe that he’s doing you some kind of solid in telling you to get out of the relationship while you can?

“What the hell is wrong with you?!" you yell. "None of that’s going to happen to Sour!”

Mr. Sweet lets out a breath of discomfort. “Look, I know everyone your age thinks they’re invincible and nothing bad is ever going to happen, but you’re going to have to deal with the real world someday. I immediately emotionally distanced myself from her when she was diagnosed to prepare for the worst and so should you now. Just give up on Sour before you get hurt. She’s a lost cause.”

You both then suddenly jump at the sound of something shattering. You look over to see Sour Sweet standing there with a broken plate and glass at her feet. Her face is hauntingly pale with shock and devastation. Her body is shaking. Tears are beginning to stream down her cheeks. Oh God, she heard everything.

Right next to Sour Sweet is her mother. She has the most pissed face you have ever seen in your life. It was even more terrifying than any of Sour’s… and it’s aimed right at her husband. She had heard everything, too.

“Sour…” Mr. Sweet utters.

Sour Sweet abruptly turns around and sprints out of the kitchen. The hard slam of the front door is heard.

You immediately begin to go after her before you feel compelled to swing back around at Mr. Sweet. Before he could react, his face is met with your right hook. He staggers back against the kitchen counter with a look of utter shock.

“I can’t believe that I thought how you’ve been treating Sour Sweet was all in her head!" you spit out. "She’s been right all along! You really are a BASTARD!!!”

With that, you turn to exit the kitchen, noting a nod of approval from Mrs. Sweet as you pass her. You dash out the front door into the night. You frantically look in all directions before finally spotting a staggering figure in the distance. You hurry up to it, thankful to see that it’s Sour Sweet.

“Sour? Are you okay?”

She says nothing, just staring off as she stumbles ahead. She seems totally out of it.

“Sour, please say something!”

“Walk…” she whispers.

“Walk? You want to go for a walk? Alright, let’s go.” You wrap your arm around her shoulder to help stable her. Perhaps the night air is what she needs to help get her over what she just heard.

Across the neighborhood and into downtown Canterlot City, Sour Sweet keeps completely silent. Adding to your heartbreak over the whole mess, you feel guilty over your own approach to the situation. In a way, you were just as bad as Mr. Sweet.

“Hey, Sour?”

No response.

“I’m sorry that I wasn’t listening to you,” you sigh, shaking your head. “I shouldn’t have been dismissing your feelings as a delusion. I promise to take what you say more seriously from now on.”

Still silence.

Your eyes search around at the shops. “Hey, uh, you want me to buy you anything? Some ice cream, maybe?”

“Walk…” you hear repeated.

You must have walked with Sour Sweet for about an hour before you reached the beach. The moon’s reflection dancing over the water along with the crashing of the waves make the scene so tranquil. You smile. A familiar setting may help her feel better.

“Hey, Sour? Remember how much fun we had hanging out here during Spring Break? I certainly remember how incredibly cute you looked in your little, green bikini. You, Sunny, Indigo, Sugarcoat, and Lemon had such a great time playing volley ball. I think I even see the spot where you buried me in the sand and just left me there for several hours. That was funny, wasn’t it?”

For the first time since you’ve been walking, Sour Sweet looks right at you. Her head then turns to survey her surroundings. A bright smile unexpectedly forms upon her face.

Oh, yes! I remember now!” She giggles in a creepy manner. “Such happy fun times!

Her sudden cheery attitude startles you a little bit. “Sour, are you feeling okay now?”

I'm feeling soooo much better!” She skips ahead and starts twirling. “I feel so free! I feel like I’m thinking more clearly than I ever have before!

“R-really?” You don’t like how she’s behaving. You have seen her like this before. Her getting depressed and her brain somehow getting locked into an unsettling chipper mood.

Yeppers! I now see everything in its proper perspective!” Her smile broadens. “Daddy was right! I AM a lost cause!

You gasp and run up to grab her by the shoulders. “What!?! No! Don’t say that! DON’T YOU DARE GET THAT STUCK IN YOUR HEAD!!!”

And this whole time dating me was your generous charity, wasn’t it?” She pats your cheek. “Aww, you’re such a kind soul.


She shakes her head. “It doesn’t matter now. It’s nearly over.

“Over? What’s over?! What do you mean?”

Sour Sweet’s eyes glance over to the ocean. “The waves. They sound so beautiful. So relaxing.

She begins to walk toward the water. You instantly start pacing after her.

“Sour, where are you going?”

The waves will take me somewhere better. Somewhere more peaceful.

Finally, the horrifying grasp of the situation clicks within your head.

You grab her arm firmly. “No, Sour Sweet! I’m taking you home right now! Let’s go!”

She rips her arm from your grip and continues on her path. “You’re such a dummy! Don’t you see that this is for the best for everyone?

Your heart beats faster than it ever has. You have never been put in this kind of position before. You try to keep yourself from panicking and think of something, anything to say to get her to stop.

Something does. “What about Bitter Honey?”

Sour’s feet halt. “Bitter…” she whispers under her breath. She shakes her head. “No, Bitter Honey doesn’t exist. She was just a hallucination and after I told you about it, you began to dream about her.” Her smile and walk picks right back up. “Don’t you see what’s going on? My insanity is contagious. I need to die to protect everyone.

You were now halfway down the beach.

Desperate, you latch onto her hand and begin matching her steps towards the ocean. “Fine! If you’re going to drown yourself, then I am too!”

Her unnatural smile seems to get wider at your bluff. “You don’t mean that. You go have a good life, okay?

“Sour Sweet, I have no life without you!" you declare with all the sincerity in your heart. "We’re going to go out together! Just like Romeo and Juliet! Parting would be such Sour Sweet sorrow, you know? Hey, did you hear that? I just made another corny word play with your name! Are you going to get mad? Horny? Anything?! Oh, please snap out of this, Sour!”

Sour Sweet chuckles creepily. “Dummy, literary critics universally agree that Romeo and Juliet isn’t a real love story. It’s a warning about how stupid teenage relationships can be.” Her smile suddenly falters. “Maybe Doctor Chrysalis was right. Maybe we were going too fast in ours.”

“Forget what literary critics and therapists think!" you plead. "Do they speak for us? I love you and you love me, right? That’s all that should matter, isn’t it?”

A gasp escapes your lips as you feel wetness lapping at your feet. You’ve reached the water.

You slosh right front of her. “Sour, I’m not going to let you do this! Not this big of a mistake!”

Sour Sweet’s face abruptly grows furious. She rears back and throws a punch at your face. You grab it. Both of you gape in disbelief for a second as your hand tightly grips her fist in place. You then successfully shove Sour back out of the water and topple to the sand together. You straddle yourself on top of her and pin her wrists down, effectively containing her thrashing. You have no idea whether heightened stress is feeding your strength or Sour’s emotional state is simply numbing hers. Whatever it is, though, you thank God for it.


“Sour Sweet, listen to me! What you’re feeling right now is going to pass! Just trust me, it’s going to pass!!!”

Her cellphone then begins to ring. You instantly let go of one of her wrists to take the phone out of her pocket. Maybe whoever’s on the other end could help talk her out of this! You try to ignore Sour’s free hand slapping your face long enough to examine the screen. “THE BASTARD” it reads. There’s only one person you know of who Sour Sweet would have in her contacts and give such a label to.

Acting on a gamble, you hit “ANSWER” and put the phone to her ear.

“Sour?” you hear Mr. Sweet’s voice ask. “Sour, where are you? Please come home. Look, I – ” A sniff is heard. Was he crying? “I can’t think of anything to say other than I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to hear the things I said. The look on your face… I-I’m just sorry, okay? I never stopped loving you, I promise. I’ve been such a coward for the last two years. A man does stupid things when he's scared. I just wanted you to get the proper care… but the proper care starts at home, doesn’t it? I realize that now. Come home. Please. I love you, baby girl.”

Sour stares upwards at you, silent and confused. You're taken a little aback to Mr. Sweet's sudden, but genuine improvement yourself. Mrs. Sweet must have employed some expert chewing out and ass kicking while you were out.

Mr. Sweet begins to sound more and more desperate. “Sour? Please say something to me! Are you there?”

You nod pleadingly for Sour Sweet to speak up.

Sour Sweet finally opens her mouth and utters, “Y-yes, I’m here. I’m coming home.”

“I’ll be waiting for you,” Mr. Sweet says with much relief in his voice.

The call ends. You slowly get off Sour and help her up. She then instantly wraps her arms around you.

“My love for you isn’t a delusion,” Sour Sweet promises.

The way she said that seemed to be more for her own reassurance than yours.

You escort Sour Sweet back to her house. Mr. Sweet is right there at the door, intently waiting. Just as he said he would. Despite the pained look of regret he has on his face, you still feel like informing him of just what his words almost brought about. Perhaps it would be salt in the wound, but it would be necessary salt in the wound.

You grab him by his shirt. “You listen here. You want to know what I just had to do? I just had to keep your daughter from taking a permanent plunge into the ocean because of what you said. I don’t know about Sour, but I'm giving you only one more chance. If something ever happens to her, you’re answering to ME, you understand?!”

You let go of him. Tears stream from his eyes. He instantly goes out to tightly embrace his daughter.

“I’m sorry! I am so sorry!” he manages to get out through the sobbing.

After some hesitance, Sour Sweet hugs back.

You let out a sigh of relief. You then decide to quietly take off for your home. This is something the Sweet family has to work out for themselves now. As you stroll down the sidewalk, you look up toward the sky and hope to see a better tomorrow written among the stars.