10 Cents for Enlightenment This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     At 15 years and 10 months, I was convinced I was going to die in approximately three and a half hours. I was pretty calm about it, all things considered. I had been thinking about it for a few weeks and was confident that it was out of my hands and there was nothing I could do. A good friend once told me that if it were her time, then she was ready. So, I resigned myself to my imminent death. I let it sink in as I watched the sunset from the back window of the car. My last one. My last car ride ... my last glimpse of a shirtless man jogging by the side of the lake who really should not be shirtless in the first place.

Knowing you’re going to die is a peaceful revelation, almost. Once you accept your mortality, life becomes much more bearable, or, in some cases, unbearable as you see people wasting their lives. I had written out my funeral plans and didn’t let my daydreams go beyond 9:30 p.m. Monday night.

I had taken sedatives for the flight, and besides feeling nauseated, I was numb and ready to face whatever came hurtling at me. I was ready. I prayed to a God whom I was trying hard to connect with in my last day, closed my eyes and let sleep come over me. Not the eternal sleep. Not yet. The plane had to crash first. It had to. I mean, it couldn’t be just my acute fear and paranoia of planes, no way. It was going to crash and I would be taken down, down, down, which is perhaps what I’d wanted all along, before my self-predicted death sentence.

So I buckled the seatbelt like a good girl, clenched the armrests until the little bones popped through some of the deeper layers of skin, and the plane soared up, up and away.

Whoever said death was the end was insane. This was my beginning.

I survived the plane ride, of course.

I couldn’t really understand how on one hand I was relieved, and on the other slightly disappointed that I didn’t have the gift of premonition, only paranoia.

What was I supposed to do once I was in Frankfurt, spoke no German, and had to live the life I thought I wouldn’t have?

Well, first things first: find my luggage.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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