showed public opinion on the tower to be evenly divided. Though we felttheir fears to be hyperbolic, Eunji and I sided with the opposition. Forus, Angel Tower had become not merely a nuisance but an existential reminder of our own mediocrity. Its sleek steel frame rendered our GoldenRiver Mountain Apartments somehow shabbier by comparison.
In the wake of the sinkhole incident, protests began outside the construction site, well within earshot of our apartment. Though Eunji and Isympathized with the protesters’ motives, we were less than enthusiasticabout their methods, which seemed to involve little more than blasting their grievances through megaphones at volumes loud enough tomake me invest in a pair of earmuffs similar to the ones I had purchasedfor Eunji. The protests continued for almost a month, until one day analtercation arose between the demonstrators and some constructionworkers—or, as the demonstrators would allege, hired thugs posing asconstruction workers. Just how the altercation started was unclear, butit escalated quickly, and by the time the riot police arrived, one of thedemonstrators had been beaten to death with a shovel and several onboth sides had been injured. Though relative peace was soon restored, itseemed like an ominous sign.
It was around this time that Eunji became pregnant. We had beentrying to conceive for over a year, marking Eunji’s menstrual cycles inthe calendar and setting aside nonessential commitments on the mostauspicious dates so that we would be free to make love—a duty we performed, at least perfunctorily, even in the midst of our worst arguments.We had run through so many home pregnancy test strips that when themuch-anticipated red line finally appeared, we almost couldn’t believeour eyes. Yet that faint red line was proof that our fortunes were aboutto change. It promised that anything could happen, and doors that hadonce seemed closed to us now appeared open. Eunji would become afamous artist, and I would be promoted to division manager. We wouldrise above the petty forces holding us back and leave the Golden RiverMountain Apartments forever. Soon, we would be the ones in AngelTower, not in its shadow.
Then, after three hopeful days, the red line started to fade. We decided to visit the Brighter Future Fertility Clinic, where the doctor informed us that Eunji had miscarried. All doors slammed shut.
The doctor assured us that there was no need to be alarmed, thatfirst-trimester miscarriages were far more common than most peoplerealized. To put our minds at ease, she suggested we undergo a few tests,