"Black Sheep Boy" and the sadness it brings... aka the guilt is overwhelming some days... Pt. III

As a refresher, this is the third entry in a series of blogs about "BLACK" BY OKKERVIL RIVER and why that song haunts me so much that I've literally blocked it out of my memory until recently.  Years passed and slowly one of my favorite albums of the mid-aughts was erased from my brain, which hardly ever loses something musically-related.  The notable exceptions being TWO SONGS THAT DROVE ME FUCKING INSANE FOR YEARS.  As it turns out, it's hard to find info on a song when you only have a sliver of the melody and no lyrics, no discernible musical reference points (can't hear the vocal in my head, who might be singing, other things like instrumentation or any other clue that can help) and are left just humming some random thing and hoping someone fucking loves that song enough to pick it up from there; which, of course, no one did...

 

But, I had completely forgotten about "Black Sheep Boy" until I was dicking around on Spotify and saw an Okkervil River song pop up in a playlist.  I couldn't even remember the name of the record and had to locate it by the cover.  That's how much I had drained my brain of the album, and all because of one song:  "Black."  To get caught up:

 

HERE'S PART I

 

AND HERE'S PART II

 

Anyways, let's get back into it.  As I've previously mentioned, there are two things that haunt me to this day about this particularly terrible episode.  One is something I did, and one is something I didn't do.  I've covered the thing I didn't do ("accidentally" murder someone, which is a probably a good thing).  Now, here's the thing I did that I regret:  I kept bringing this terrible memory back up to her...

 

I didn't know.  Again, I kind of knew, but I didn't really know.  I didn't.  I couldn't.  She never told me but I knew something happened.  I had no clue what it was.  I figured she'd kissed him or possibly more.  I shouldn't have ever brought it back up since I could tell it was something she definitely didn't want to talk about, but sometimes it would creep into fights we had.  Which, over the years had grown more numerous in nature, so the amount of times it could potentially enter into the "conversation" grew as well.  It was also something that brought out the worst in me and what I'd later learn to be my Asperger's.  You see, people with Asperger's (or, at least me) are keenly aware of peoples buttons and how to press them.  It's a skill I learned at a young age.  If I could get the other person all riled up and I APPEARED COMPOSED SO I WAS, I SUPPOSE, the other kid would always get in trouble and I'd walk away scot-free.  It was a handy trick in my youth that would later prove to be something that would get me in trouble later in life, kind of.  I'm not sure how much of this skill is attributed to the Asperger's but it's a fair amount, I'd reckon.  I hate that I can find and manipulate awful things in people and that sometimes I do it without realizing it.  I think a lot of people secretly know the exact wrong thing to say to other people but keep it to themselves, knowing the emotional pain it would bring.  I don't always have that option, though I'm much better now that I can, at least sometimes, identify that I'm about to say the most damaging thing possible just to win an argument and keep my fucking mouth shut before ruining another relationship.

 

I wish I would've known earlier.  I never, and I mean NEVER, would have ever mentioned it again, but I honestly didn't know and had always assumed that it was something that wasn't a big deal.  Which made it maddening as to why she wouldn't say.  For years, I figured after we had all gotten drunk, they had made out and she felt bad about it.  I even thought maybe they fooled around and slept together which bothered me some but it was right after we met and weren't living together or anything, so, again, I was bummed but I could move past it if she would just tell me.  But, the more she wouldn't say, naturally, the more curious I got.  I wish that I hadn't.  I wish I could've been a better person and just let it go.  But, my stupid Asperger's kicked in and now it was a mystery/riddle that needed to be solved.  So, at least once or twice a year, I'd ask her again about what happened, why she won't talk about it if it was nothing (clearly it wasn't), why she was so distracted/distraught the next time she saw him, and on and on.  It eventually, and rightly so from her perspective, not at all rightly from mine, became a burden on our relationship.  By then, we were living together and things grew tenser by the day.  It was all my fault but I couldn't stop myself.  I tried so hard, but even if they had slept together (which was the worst case scenario in my head), it wasn't that big a deal to me anymore so why wouldn't she just tell me?  She eventually copped to making out, to which I smiled and told her I loved her and I didn't care.  It was so long ago and before we knew that we loved each other.  But, the look on her face wasn't from admitting that she made out with someone.  I could tell it was more.  I kept telling her that I loved her and didn't care what happened (again, having sex with him was the worst case scenario I could imagine...) so she shouldn't feel scared to tell me.  It was borderline manipulative and I hated myself for trying so hard to figure this out.  But, at this point, I was obsessed with finding out exactly what happened.  I wish I hadn't been.  She didn't deserve that, no one does, and I was making it so much worse by not letting it die.  So much worse...

 

I remember the night she finally told me.  We were about to break up, things had gotten that bad.  We were barely speaking to each other.  Everything we did or said ended up in a fight.  I became jealous and distant.  Asperger's makes it easy to not care sometimes, which is awful.  I was convinced she was having an affair.  There was no reason or basis for that but I became convinced there were more things she was hiding (there weren't).  I resented her for not being open with me which, in turn, made her feel, and rightly so, like she couldn't be open with me or I would get mad at her.  The less she said the more my mind wandered into terrible places.  Asperger's also helps bring about some of the worst thoughts from relatively insignificant things.  I was a complete asshole.  I wish I hadn't been but I was.  I know that now but I wish I knew it back then.  The more I pulled away the more she mirrored that.  She was protecting herself, and I get that now.  She didn't deserve to be in a relationship like our's had become.  No one does.  But, in my head, it was all her fault.  All she had to do was tell me one little thing (or so I thought) and it would all be back to normal.  My confidence would be restored in her and we could move on.  I once thought I would marry her and now one stupid, drunken night years ago threatened that.  God, I was fucking idiot...  So selfish...  So distrustful...  So unaware...  So mean...  

 

Then, after we (sort of) broke up, she finally said fuck it and told me.  I was devastated for her.  I was heart-broken for her.  I was so mad at him.  I wanted to kill him (for the second time).  I was so mad at myself.  I was SO FUCKING MAD AT MYSELF.  I held her as we cried together.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I had never expected anything like this.  This was what I had tortured myself to find out.  This was what I was holding against her.  I couldn't have felt smaller at that moment.  It finally clicked in my brain how shitty I had been by bringing this up the five to ten times or so over the years.  Every time, every fucking time, she had to remember this and put on a brave face to get through my bullshit.  Needless to say, I never once brought it up again...  I was too ashamed.  My only hope is that some small part of her felt relieved to speak it into the world.  I'm not sure she had ever told anyone before.  I'm sure saying it out loud didn't make her feel any better nor remove any of the anger, guilt, shame, sadness, distrust, feelings of vulnerability, hate, or any other emotions but I hope releasing the secret didn't make it worse.  I never should've known unless she wanted me to know.  It was not my place and I never should have pushed her to tell me about it, and by doing so, bringing it back into her mind.  It was a painful lesson and I've learned that sometimes I need to shut the fuck up.  I don't need to know everything about someone.  That's not how it works.  I get to know what they want me to know and I need to be OK with that.  If I'm not, I can hurt someone I love...

 

I'm not sure why I've packed all that into "Black" by Okkervil River but my life is dictated by music and I associate most of my memories to music.  And, this just happened to be one I wanted to forget.  And did...