My Charming Old Lady


This is my family’s fun story about a lie. I often spent summer vacation at my grandparents’ house when I was child. Reversi was our favorite board game I remember playing with my grandmother.

She always won. Unless she had mercy. One day, she told my younger sister and me that if we won, she would buy ice cream as a reward. We really wanted to win, especially because we had found our favorite new flavor at the store. By the middle of the game, she was winning. So we arranged pieces to win while she went to the bathroom.

Thanks to this cheating, we won and got rewarded with ice cream. But I was pretty sure she knew, though she pretended she didn’t realize it. 

I asked her again, after many years. She still pretended with a charming smile.

I never forgot her smile even after she passed away.


''A native of Japan, Ayako Tachikawa arrived in the U.S. in 2021. She studies English at the New York Public Library’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation branch. Michele Persaud is her ESOL teacher, and Sherin Hamid is the hub manager.