April 15, 2013 was my first day at my current job. It was also the first time I'd had to work Marathon Monday, since I lacked the gumption to negotiate a better start date with the recruiter.
Our office was located at the start of Boylston Street with a sliver of a view of the Boston Common. Coming from the austere hunk of ugly that was City Hall, it was a major upgrade.
That afternoon my boss knocked on my door and said, "Two bombs just went off in Copley."
Now that I am accustomed to his blunt, gruff demeanor, this makes sense. But then, I thought, "Is this guy f*cking joking?"
I stared at him dumbly for a second. Finally he shifted to his other foot and rubbed his head and said, "So, uh, go home? We're going on lockdown."
I walked back to Southie and spent my 28th birthday cooped up in my apartment with my ear glued to a police scanner and my thumb refreshing Twitter every five seconds. That evening we celebrated when that jackass was caught hiding in a Watertown boat.
This year I'll look around warily at anyone with a backpack, but the feeling will pass. I'll drink mimosas in the rain and cheer on runners and I won't cry every five minutes. Last year's race was all about embodying triumph and overcoming pain; everyone was still processing the horror that had occurred. This year, I think it will still be a time to reflect, but more a demonstration that we can truly move on and rise above.
Oh, and I'll have asked for the day off months in advance - I'm no chump. What a difference two years can make.