And so you smile when someone asks how things are going, broadly, you smile, with most of your teeth, and you flick aside what's left of your heart, and you stick out your hand and say, "Grrrreat!" or "Couldn't be better!" or, when life is particularly bleak, "Things are looking up!"
And you recite from memory a menu, several pre-selected items from columns "A" and "B", of all the marvelous wins and fabulous opportunities and other stale pellets of extruded terror formed into appetizing, life-like shapes, tarted up with brio and garnished with a wilted sprig of false humility until you question whether you can even remember what it felt like to really, truly feel anything.
What happens, I wonder, when you just fucking say, "Damn, I'm tired. Business sucks, traffic was awful, my husband left me, my hard drive crashed, the dog has cancer, and the Emperor's ass is a flat, pale, pockmarked bucket of sad the sight of which is going to take years to wipe from my memory banks. What's new in YOUR world?"
Whether everything is awful right now or everything is perfect right now everything IS right now.
And I can't think of a single thing that doesn't get a little bit better served up fresh and truthfully, with humor, with tenderness, with the judiciously-chosen expletive, dependent on company.
Besides, what's the alternative, slow death by bullshit happiness?
The end is coming, either way.
And I'm guessing, just guessing, mind you, that if you let at least some of it hang out, the two of you might even toast to the ironies of life, and the way a bump in the road can turn two complete strangers into fellow travelers.