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Three GHS Students Place in Young Georgia Authors Competition

Gilmer county students are presented with certificates for winning the Young Georgia Authors competition. Senior Elizabeth Warren, far right, will go on to the next level of competition for her short story titled “A Life of Two.”

The Gilmer County School District recently acknowledged the students who won the Young Georgia Authors for Gilmer High School. Among these students were sophomore Samantha Whitley, junior Jacquelyn Gonzales Santos, and senior Elizabeth Warren. 

Samantha Whitley said “I wrote a poem about identity. It was an assignment I had in one of my language art classes. In my poem I had to compare myself to something in nature. I related myself to a river, because I try to take life one step at a time and like to “go with the flow!” 

Jacquelyn Gonzales Santos said “I wrote a short story about this man and his dog during the fallout of a nuclear war. I saw this creek going back home one day that fit the aesthetic and put a character in my mind. There wasn’t a lot of thought behind it; just more of a scene of a cool story in my head.”

Elizabeth Warren won for Gilmer High School, but also for the North Georgia RESA, which means her essay moves on to the next level of the Young Georgia Authors competition. 


Below, enjoy Warren’s full award-winning story:


A Life of Two by Elizabeth Warren

Charlotte and Stephen moved to Brookswood as a classic pair of newlyweds, ready to take on the world hand in hand. All newlyweds have that initial optimism that withstands all trouble suffered for about the first six weeks, right? Well, the odd thing about Charlotte and Stephen was that that optimism continued into the seventh week, then the eighth, then three months in, and so on. On their first wedding anniversary, Charlotte spent all of Stephen’s whole work day, hanging pictures and twinkling lights through and outside their house. She spent hours preparing his favorite roast and sides, and she baked and decorated this elaborate cake to resemble their wedding cake. He came home, and they danced in the living room under all the lights. I can see how that fire can keep kindling for a year. The thing is, year two, Stephen decked out all the rooms of the house with bouquets and bouquets of flowers. Charlotte came home for the night to an overflow of floral arrangements, and a happy husband, every little girl dream, but it wasn’t just an anniversary. They would go dancing and to dinner every Friday night. Every Saturday morning, he would get up and make her breakfast in bed and he loved to surprise her with a new dish every week. Sunday morning she would bake them to go pastries, and coffee before they headed out to Sunday service. 

Maybe that was what kept their marriage so strong. Clinging to a Bible and hollow prayers, who knows? It sounds better than floating through this meaningless life with nothing to hold onto. They really did grip to God’s feet, but when they started trying to have a baby, one was definitely pulling more than the other. Charlotte would have tea with one of her neighbor ladies every Tuesday, and she listened to Charlotte explain the tension that was rising in her household. Charlotte had an underlying fear of infertility, but she tried to leave that fear untouched. However, she was swimming in that fear now. 

Charlotte told her neighbor anything and everything about the struggles in her household. Stephen started working more after six or seven months with no luck. He couldn’t keep going to doctors appointments and hearing more bad news. He couldn’t look at Charlotte for long without becoming weepy and angry. He’d just leave the house. Stephen didn’t drink, ever. Everyone in town knew that any function serving drinks, Stephen would steer clear of the bar. The Church even added a grape juice substitution for him. 

Every night for the last few months though, a buddy would drop him outside of the house and he would stumble inside. Charlotte didn’t know what to do besides fall to her knees and pray. She prayed to God day and night for a baby to bring her husband back to her. It was a bit too late for the prayers. Stephen wouldn’t even look at her anymore, let alone trying for something he didn’t believe whatever comes. Instead, he chose to spend his nights wasting away in a bottle of Jack. Charlotte barely saw him anymore. He stumbled home late at night and left before she woke up. The more time he spent in the bottle the less he did with or for her. Saturday breakfast turned into microwaved oatmeal then sleeping in. Sunday breakfast turned into granola bars and trips through the drive-through then Charlotte walking in alone to that creeky building. She knew every week, now walking in alone she was like an open wound. Every cold look or judgy comment hit her like salt. She knew people were down on her now. How could she lead her dry man of God to be a drunk? People ran their mouths about possibilities: affairs, miscarriages, bad influence. People threw out all kinds of speculations that caused Charlotte to tear up every Tuesday tea. 

After several months, Stephen’s character seemed to be brought back to life. He stopped spending time at the bar, and started going back to church. He started making breakfast for Charlotte every Saturday again. There dinner dates started back up, and he would bring home flowers every day. He had a pep back in his step as everyone said. People first thought maybe Charlotte finally had a little bun in the oven, but she was the most surprised of everyone. The truth, though, is that it was a pregnancy test that gave Stephen a birth of hope, but it wasn’t found in Charlotte’s trash can. 

Word is that Charlotte left her scarf at the neighbors house after one Tuesday tea. Stephen went by after work one afternoon to pick it up and the woman invited him in for a nightcap. He accepted as he was already a bit tipsy from his afternoon happy hour. Some people say she lured her in, but he didn’t fight much. They talked until sunset. Stephen expressed the despair of the past year and how it brought him to his edge. He knew Charlotte was always afraid of this, but he never thought it would be true, or break his own heart so much. The neighbor operated as a comfort hanging on every word. Stephen saw why Charlotte never missed a Tuesday tea. He felt heard for the first time in this situation. Everything so far was about how Charlotte felt and her struggle with it, but Stephen was hurting equally as much, yet no one, even Charlotte, had checked in on him. 

Talking to the young lady, Stephen felt like someone finally cared about his struggle. That was all he needed to climb the bed with her. He was sneaking out around sunrise with his hair messy and shirt on backwards. He went home and changed for work and rushed out the same way he had any other morning. That night, though, he brought home a full bouquet. He sat down on the couch and knelt down in front of her. He apologized for the wrongdoing he’d been doing and promised to swear off the drink. He swore he would turn it all around and he did. He did so easily forget to mention his point of rock bottom that pushed him to make the change. 

The next Tuesday tea, Charlotte told her friend all of the changes that Stephen has not only promised, but was already beginning to live out. He had enrolled in a church-run AA club and was going every night. Charlotte was so ecstatic, she didn’t notice the desperate expression on her friend’s face. No one knew this, but Stephen had left more than an empty whiskey glass with her the nights before. The young woman felt weird about everything, far beyond her conscience, so she took a test and it came back with a plus. She had to figure out what to do, so she called Stephen up and showed him the test. All he ever wanted was a child, and now he had the opportunity in his hand, but he really didn’t want to leave Charlotte. He truly loved her and wished to change his behavior. He could not walk out on his high sweetheart, but this, baby. This baby was all he ever wanted in his entire life, but never could he live a double life, or at least, not in good conscience. In the end, he promised the young lady he would support her, but he could not leave his wife. That wasn’t enough for her. When Charlotte was at the shop one day, Stephen was outside, fighting with the woman. She threatened to go and abort the child if he didn’t leave Charlotte and promised he would never see him or her in his life, but Stephen promised to leave. 

The thing is, two weeks later, a miracle came to many’s dismay. Charlotte went to Stephen in tears. He feared the worst, but was overjoyed, but she ripped out a positive pregnancy test. He picked her up and twirled her all around the driveway. The young lady recognized the situation while walking the dog that afternoon. By the next Tuesday, the town was all aware of Stephen and Charlotte’s news. There was no room for secrets in a tiny town. 

The young woman was now under great distress for the future of her and her child. This woman lived alone. She was a widow for several years and already had a boy in high school. She couldn’t fathom being able to start over and provide for someone again. She needed support, but now he had a perfect life. The woman he loved and a baby. The young lady had no choice except to get rid of both. 

That Tuesday tea, the young lady made a batch of brownies, which had been laced with weed. After eating a few, Charlotte became severely ill. She was dizzy and nauseous, and the young lady suggested a walk in the garden. She wrote the nausea off of the pregnancy symptoms, and supported Charlotte as she stumbled through the garden. They came to a giant hole in the garden. The young lady apologized as she let go, and Charlotte fell fast and hard into the hole. The young lady wept as she scooped dirt over the body. She planted flowers over the patch with the rest of the garden. She threw the shovel in the creek, and when Stephen got home from work, he searched the house only to find Charlotte wasn’t there. Her car was missing, but he didn’t know where all she could’ve gone. 

He first went to check the young lady’s home, to see if she went anywhere. The young lady told him she did, but she had left for good. In reality, the car had been hidden until it could be sold. She told Stephen that she had admitted to Charlotte that she was pregnant with his child, and Charlotte left dismayed and betrayed. Stephen was angry at the young woman, and spent several months at home, sitting in anger, and hoping that Charlotte would return. During her eight months of pregnancy, the young woman went to Stephen and apologized again for telling Charlotte what had happened. 

Although he still held much against the woman, he accepted her apology and agreed to help her raise the child. After a few years, they got married in that creeky church building. Stephen continued to workout his anger and resentment towards the young woman through a program at the church. Stephen eventually forgave her completely for spilling the truth to Charlotte, and they lived together for many years. They lived contently, never joyfully. He never found out the truth about what happened to Charlotte, and died peacefully asleep. I don’t think anyone would’ve if it hadn’t been explained in the young woman’s grief journal to her first husband that I read. I will always wonder what it is like to have a sibling and to know my father’s real love of his life, but I understand that what my mother did was for my benefit as her daughter, Charlotte.


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About the Contributor
Jasmine Lopez Rangel
Jasmine Lopez Rangel, Staff Writer
I have been in journalism since my Freshman year, and I'm currently a junior. I plan to continue being in journalism until I graduate. I love being a part of our journalism team because we all work very hard on the yearbook. Fun facts about me is I love chick fil a, cheerleading, and being on Tik Tok. Outside of school I like to hang out with Candi
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