"Hi! Long time no see! How are you! What are you up to"
The heart sinks. Do I have to really answer that question - to say how I am and what I'm up to? Honestly?
The hug follows. A moment to escape eye contact. An escape from elaborating on "I'm good".
And on to the next person - same ritual, same questions, same little moment of pain. What you really want to say is;
"No, I'm pretty crap really, this year's been awful and I'm borderline depressive. And I don't want to talk about it thanks."
But I don't say that and life's deception continues. But the pain stays.