The truth of it comes down to this - I am embarrassed by my illness. I am ashamed of it, and what it means.
Darwin has affected me deeply. Clearly. I regard my useless kidneys as a grand signature of my failure as a human being. The fittest around me are thriving and surviving, and I am a genetically inferior one, not worthy of the human race.
I feel it is a deeply unattractive burden that I now carry, this failure to be healthy, to glow with some radiance of youth and be living recklessly rather than existing cautiously.
It is for all of these reasons that I find it difficult to tell people that I am sick. Because I look relatively normal, and thanks to the advances of cosmetics and almost two years of learning how to cleverly disguise my tummy, I don’t necessarily have to confess anything to anyone.
But then what if there comes along a someone?
My female friends on dialysis share my general reluctance for relationships. It presents too awkward a conversation. It is difficult to plume your feathers and possess the confidence that defines attraction when you are conscious of the disaster zone that occupies your mid-riff.
And yet, and yet, and yet...
The logical ones out there will point to the obvious - that none of us are getting any younger. The medical people tell us we should not put our lives on hold while waiting for transplant. Friends tell us we are wonderful and that we deserve to love and be loved.
Last week, I was faced with all of this in the form of one massive Friday night dilemma. So I minimised. I said “I’m waiting for a transplant, it’s no big deal.” I didn’t mention my dialysis machine, or the fact that I have a tube in my tummy.
If he sticks around, he’ll get to see both. Lucky guy.
Admittedly, for all the worry over the giant elephant on my side of the beer-stained table, there was still the giddy happiness of a first date. Oh, the glorious normality of it all.
Who knows where it will go, and whether it will go.
But I realise there is little hope for any love in my life unless I can find the words to introduce the someone to this complicated world of mine.