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  • Late at night, when I was staying with a friend in Melbourne, we walked to the service station to get ice-blocks. Out the front were a few gumball machines with figurines from kids TV shows and games. It was autumn, the weather was chilly and I had been playing a lot of Pokemon. My favourite Pokemon was Eevee. When I saw the cute little plastic replica in the machine with Pokemon figurines, I had to try and get her. Or rather, I knew I would get her. Sometimes, you can ask the universe for something and the next moment you will be holding it in your hands, astonished at your luck. And at the same time, you won't be so surprised, because somehow, you knew.

    'That never happens!' my friend said as I held the figurine in my hand. He couldn't believe that I'd got the one I wanted. Later, I put it on a brooch for good luck.

    When I had a reading with a well-known psychic earlier this year, she told me that I should learn how to pray. 'There are ways of talking to the universe and asking it for what you need,' she told me. 'Find out what works for you.' When I listen to the recording, my voice sounds flat with atheistic disbelief when I repeat the word 'pray.' I don't think I've ever prayed in my life, unless you count the mantras I repeat during take-off and landing whenever I catch a plane.

    However, there have been times – like when I caught an Eeve out of a gumball machine, or when I won the raffle at the co-op fundraiser, or when I visited a funhouse in a Japanese skiing village where I chose the string from a mass of tangled strings that led to the prize I'd set my eyes on – when I've felt that I was talking to the universe. Like when you think a thought out of the corner of your mind, there's something indirect, but very present, about this communication.

    What would happen if I asked for something more than a trinket? Maybe it's time I learned how to pray.
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