My name is Trinity.
Wow. I haven’t said that name aloud in years. Do not call me that. If I meet you and you do, I cannot guarantee that my response will leave you happy and in good health.
Perhaps I should explain.
Trinity. I suppose I have rejected the name for most of my life. At first it was because I was going through one of a series of identity crises: as a queer girl, then as a kid who was questioning whether I was a girl at all, and finally, as someone struggling to find my place in the world as I bounced between being the weird Norwegian immigrant in the rapidly fractioning United States of America and Poppa’s little prodigy during summers at the Newborg Institute he founded. None of those identities felt compatible with the name Trinity.
Later, my being able to use my birth name was stripped from me for good by security concerns. Poppa’s little girl was now his filthy rich little girl, traveling alone, and the last thing we wanted was to broadcast who I was. Eventually, there were quite a few cops and way too many soldiers looking for Trinity Sabo Sandahl to use a name even remotely like it.
I was never a bad person, but situations have arisen that have caused me to do some bad things … ghastly things.
We’ll get to that. Don’t decide to dislike me just yet.
I have given a number of accounts of my background to numerous people over the years, none of them completely true, and many of them wholly untrue. I have had good reasons for doing so, which I will relay in this memoir, but for now, trust that I am neither sociopath nor pathological liar.
Some of you have met me before, although this will be my first starring role, so to speak. It’s my story after all, and after a great deal of hemming and hawing, it seems obvious that the best person to tell it is me.
In the past, as with my origin story, I’ve used versions of my name that were a shade or two from true, but never outright lies. My first alias, and the one that most of the people who loved me knew me as, was Trint Solo, the last name being what governments designated for those of us who claimed to have no family name. After some of the detritus had cleared from my life and I had left North America for good, I reclaimed my last name, Sandahl, later Sandahl-Grail.
I loved being Trint, though in truth, I suspect I knew all along neither that version of me nor the relationships I built around it could last forever. My ex-wife, Roxx, never knew me as anything other than Trint, and were someone to go back in time and tell her the full truth of my origin, it would destroy me. Thus, my candor here is based on the fact that I know Roxx’s timeline won’t develop spacetime travel in any form, and the portals back to her version of Earth have been permanently sealed. No one who knows my truth would tell her, were anyone ever able to determine where and when she is.
I can only pray she found our daughters, Jazz and Jessi, who were snatched from her in the way Riis, my third daughter, was taken from me. It is an empty prayer, I think. If that bastard had bothered to ask me, I would have welcomed his taking my daughter if it meant saving her from Earth’s fate. Roxx would have felt the same way. Taahti still refuses to tell me who else managed to get off that godawful rock. She insists no one did, but I always know when she’s bending the truth. In any event, I know for certain that Riis did, although no one knows where the bastard who stole her took her.
I’m getting ahead of myself, and I’ve had too much wine. More later.
It was during my political years—in Africasia and beyond—that I went through the other versions of my identity. I remained Trint Sandahl-Grail for some time, as the name had developed a sizeable renown. The honorifics changed, but I was always Trint, whatever she was. For a time, Trint Sandahl-Grail was considered, by a very few insiders, to be the most powerful woman in the southern hemisphere. I knew better, but the world was incrementally safer because people believed it, and so I let them.
When the name became toxic, I disappeared into an alias named Emma Selassie, because I desperately needed to hide, and I’d always loved the name Emma. It’s so old-fashioned, like Hannah or Matilda. You may have noticed my chosen surname, the ancient Ethiopian name, Selassie. It means, of course, Trinity. Perhaps I was daring my pursuers to find me. Mostly, though, I was trying to honor my mother. I would never choose a name that strayed entirely from the one she gave me at birth.
I owe her that. I owe her everything.
After marrying my first husband, I became Mrs. Emma Chandler, with my being one of the few women who still took her husband’s name. Upon his death, I took his nickname, Chan, as my own surname and became Sellasé Chan, for the first time adopting the name my mother had always intended me to have. Mom was herself Ethiopian, having been born in Addis Ababa, although she also boasted Tajik and Pakistani heritage through her father and mother, respectively. Mom moved to Harlem with her parents at age five when both of them took professorships at Columbia University. When she met and married my father, Dr. Baldur Sandahl, he wanted to give me a typically Norwegian name, like Inger or Bjørg or something, and Mom wanted me to be Sellasé, which, she told Poppa, was a newly popular girl’s name for Selassie. I think she made it up. That would have been such a Mom thing to do.
So, now I am Sellasé, except that no one ever calls me by my first name. I am Chan, now, even though my new married name is Sellasé Chan nà Riley. (No, I haven’t taken his name. Riley is now Rashon Rannell Riley nà Chan. It’s just the convention on Velushia.)
These name changes weren’t all the result of whimsy, although some of them were, and I will attempt to relay, as succinctly as possible, the reasons therefor. But know, according to everyone who’s ever loved me, being succinct is not my forte.
Y’all need to strap in. This ride’s gonna get bumpy.