For as long as I could remember, I knew I was different. I looked like no one I know. Well, except my mother. Now, I do not know where my mother is. Father had married another woman, who was my step-mother. She did not like me. She said I reminded her of my mother.
My name was Sino. Translated from Shona to English, it meant 'Snow'. Father said he named me that because I was pure and white like snow. Father loved me. He always did. He told me I was beautiful even though I knew I wasn't. No one else thought I was. My skin and my hair were whiter than the whites of my father's eyes. My eyes gave me a lot of trouble too. I had to stay away from the sunlight so I was home most of the time.
My step mother did not like me. She made me do all the work at home. I cooked and cleaned and scrubbed all day. However, that day was different. She was nice to me and even gave me an apple to eat after they all had lunch. No one else was at home that day. Father had gone away on a company contract from Zimbabwe to Sudan and he was to return only after a year. I ate the apple, relishing each bite. Halfway through, I felt woozy and fainted.
When I woke up, I was on a hospital bed. My insides felt like they were made of broken glass. My limbs were stiff and I could not lift a finger. However, my father was there screaming and pumping his fist into the air. "Had he gone mad?", I wondered. My breathing was laborious and painfully slow. I could see my breath fogging up the oxygen mask.
I heard Father and the doctor talking. The doctor said I would be okay. I would need to learn to use my muscles again. I had been in a coma for a year after all. Father nodded and asked a few questions and then the doctor left.
Father sat down next to me. I asked him with my eyes as best as I could, "What happened to me?" and he sadly smiled. He said that I had been raped by 7 men who were HIV positive(in exchange for some money that my step mother took from them) a year ago on this very day. There was a belief in Zimbabwe that sex with an albino woman will cure a man of HIV. The doctor said I had been infected by the virus too.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.