Lusine Khachatryan, CA

Senior Writer

Born in Armenia, Lusine received her roots in writing in her native tongue. When her family fled the crumbling USSR to pursue the American dream, she quickly fell in love with the English language and has been quietly writing stories of creative nonfiction since. She holds a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Fourteen Hills. She recently completed her first novel, a story exploring the divided self of an Armenian-American and the struggle and strength in knowing two worlds but living both in only one life.

As a Story Terrace writer, Lusine interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

A Pigeon’s Secret

When the truth about my grandmother finally hit me, I wanted to cry. She’s not my real grandma? I remember being ashamed that during all those years this wonderful woman took such good care of me when my mother was off at work, she probably had her own grandchildren to watch over, but instead, there she was caring for me. I felt awful. And worst of all I wasn’t supposed to know. I’d been eavesdropping on an adult conversation and heard the news from the wrong side of an open window on a quiet afternoon. I  didn’t know what to do, but I knew to keep my lips sealed.

I was seven years old and full of stress. How come dad called her mom? How come my grandpa called her honey? It made no sense. She felt like my grandmother. Her arms were warm like a grandmother’s. Her voice soft and secure when she said to me, “I love you, pigeon.” Although now that I thought about it, I realized I didn’t look like her much and no one ever made the mistake of saying that I did. Everyone else must have known.

In the months and years to follow, I kept my little secret. She did cherish me like a ‘real’ grandmother would. She did brush my hair so softly that I fell asleep. She did pour all her sweet love and care into my life to make me happy and strong. Sometimes I even forgot what I’d overheard that awful afternoon; sometimes I didn’t care. I realized I liked not knowing better. Because much more than me, my father and grandma were the ones dutifully living and guarding that sweet little secret. At some point long before I was born, they’d called each other mother and son and never looked back. It was proof of some crazy kind of love. I was just blessed to be in on it now.

Thank you, Grandma, wherever you are.

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