Try and forgive Joel. I know that you know the truth, or at least suspect it. But he loves you so much, and the world is hard enough without refusing to forgive the people who really truly love you. Especially your world. Hate him, if you need to, so long as you also forgive him- the two aren’t nearly as mutually exclusive as everyone seems to think.
Did Joel do the right thing? Probably not, to be honest. He didn’t respect your wishes. He chose to put the life of one person over the entire human race, and he killed a whole bunch of people to make that happen. And he did it for purely selfish reasons. For love. For fear of being alone. For fear of losing another person he cared about. Selfish reasons, but pure reasons too. Joel cares about you, more than he cares about humanity. Is that really wrong?
I don’t know. The older I get, the more I’m starting to realize that the right thing means something completely different than I thought it did when I was a child. Morality is a crapshoot, especially in a crapsack world like yours. And even though, objectively, Joel probably made the wrong choice… a vaccine wasn’t going to save humanity, because the infected weren’t what was destroying the world. People were doing that all on their own, just like we have been since the dawn of time. I’m not saying all people or awful, or that humanity as a whole is unsaveable. To quote Anne Frank, who I hope you learned about and who knows much more about these things than I do-
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
And it’s just that… well, when I started writing this letter, the world was in a different place. And I didn’t know how to finish it. But then our country elected someone who might be a fascist dictator, and I’m afraid of how humanity will change because of it. You’ve seen first hand how easily humans become monsters, and trust me, they don’t need the excuse of an apocalypse to do truly evil things. But that doesn’t make them truly evil people. Because make no mistake, what Joel did could be seen as truly evil.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… Maybe there are no right choices in the grand scope of human existence. Maybe the best we can hope for is to cling to the things and the people we love in the here and now. Maybe that’s a selfish and short-sighted way of thinking. Maybe its just naïve. Maybe it’s unfair to the people who have it much worse than I do. I don’t know.
I do know that forgiveness and love are the only things that make not knowing bearable.
Joel is just as lost as you are, but loving you is all he has to make sense of it. So if you can forgive him… just try. Hate him if you must, but trust me when I say you’ll need that as much as he does.