“Finders, Keepers” by Eriana Freeman

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Art by Esmeralda Duvnjak, titled, “Cathedral”

Finders, Keepers  by Eriana Freeman

This vague memory carelessly found its way into my mind one day. It first took me by surprise. I simply forgot this even occurred. The memory has constantly been on my mind every day since, and makes me miss being younger.

My older sister by six years and older cousin by around five or four years took my younger sister and me to a school.

I’m pretty sure it was abandoned. The school was old, but not that old. Originally, we went there to eat snacks and play on the vacant dull playground set, but our curious minds led our feet and bodies to this place.

vacant [vey-kuh nt] adj. lost, mislaid, and abandoned property; legal status of property after abandonment and rediscovery.

My younger sister, who I believe tagged along with us, followed behind me as the elder two led us up the old rusty stairs. I was scared, being only around eight or nine years old, but I followed them because they were older. Growing up with them, they would not share with me as much as I’d like so being on this little journey with them felt great despite my fear of trespassing.

verb, gerund or present participle: trespassing. 1. To enter the owner’s land or property without permission. As in, “There is no excuse for trespassing on railroad property.”

Railroad property. It is not our property, but we are preteens having fun. Around autumn of my sixth-grade year, I would spend the weekend at my best friend’s home. I was always welcomed and was loved by them all. My best friend’s mom was like a second mom to me, my best friend’s brother was a great friend of mine. Their dad was an okay man; I never talked to him much. One day, we decided to walk to the park by ourselves.

Growing up I was sheltered from things. My parents are still overprotective and strict. Giving a kid with little freedom more freedom isn’t always a bad thing—I think.

My best friend’s mom gave us money to take with us. We would walk to the store, buy snacks, and play at the park eventually stumbling upon a place.

“Trespass is an area of criminal law or tort law broadly divided into three groups:
trespass to the person, trespass to chattels and trespass to land” (“Tort,” Wikipedia,

I was always called a goody-two-shoes.

When my friends began to walk down the street, ALONE, without a parent present I panicked.

When my friends paid for our snacks ALONE at just twelve years old I panicked.

When my friends showed me where the hidden train tracks were, I panicked.

When I stepped onto those abandoned tracks, I smiled.

I enjoyed the rush and the laughter that slowly crept out of our mouths. The words trespass, criminal, curfew, all flew out of my mind as the evening wind caressed our smiling faces.

Was this even trespassing if we were happy and not bothering anyone?

“Finders, keepers” is an English adage that asserts that someone who has found an
object can keep it. (“Finders, keepers,” Wikipedia, 2020)

On the top floor of the not so abandoned school we felt on top of the world — or at least little me did. The fear I had once felt was gone. Trespassing didn’t matter. Loitering didn’t matter. Who keeps track of people trespassing anyway?

From the broken window a chill passed through the room, breaking my carefree feeling. I shuddered and asked my sister, ”When are we leaving?” She didn’t respond.

We continued to play and laugh.

This old school was ours in my mind. The laughter, sunset, and the weird smells of the abandoned classroom that we were in gave me a rush of happiness.

The sound of a car approaching the building startled us. We ran to the closest broken window and saw my older cousin, who is the mother of my cousin, waving at us. We left the building carefully and met her.

She smiled at us, her dark skin was glowing under the scorching sun that was oddly out on a chilly day. She reached to the passenger side and pulled out a white bag that contained snacks and sandwiches for us.

We ate our snacks and enjoyed the quiet evening. With the occasional crunch of a leaf or a howl of calm from the wind. The trees swayed left and right, almost hesitantly. Then we left the abandoned place. As we drove away, I rested my head on the window and smiled watching the trees sway freely.

Freely. Adv.
1. not under the control of another; as one wishes.”I roamed freely.”

I was tentative at first, but stepping onto those tracks made me wash over with relief. I roamed freely about. The wind would wrap around me and hold me tight, sometimes trying to make me fall.

2. without restriction or interference.”Air can freely circulate”

We spent hours at the railroad tracks. They were no longer in use. We danced, laughed, chased each other on the train tracks. The sun was setting and it was getting late. I suggested that we go back to the house.

Sometimes I feel like I have no happy memories. I never realized how many small memories I have that are positive. These memories will be kept forever, and I won’t let myself forget them again. I found them again and I’m going to keep them. Freely.


Eriana Freeman is a Student at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School.

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