The tale of the two
So there I was, a French, socialist wingwalker in the midst of a decidedly male dominated, Anglo industry with some seriously conservative tendencies, looking for a new pilot.
I held a boot camp in Virginia and Marcus was one of the two new recruits. He managed not to dump me off of the wing and we decided that working together would be a good idea. The next several years saw us form a union, that while unconventional, served our purpose.
Neither of us expected the full extent of the friendship and complicity that would come from our time together.
Marcus was decidedly Marcus. If I stuck out like a sore thumb in the Airshow industry by being an outspoken tyrant of some small repute, Marcus’ aversion to homogenizing himself into the fold was by far, more evident. I had several excuses for my behaviour. I was French, I was a wingwalker who walked around in leathers and was dubbed the Janice Joplin of air shows. What more could one expect of me if not a little eccentricity?
Marcus had none of these excuses. He was a ranger, served in the special forces, he was a paratrooper, a father, a POW and he had gone through law school. He, however, didn’t require excuses. At some point in his life! Marcus had made a conscious decision to be exactly who he was and then he proceeded to live that life every single day, unapologetically.
In a world that expected me to change, Marcus simply accepted me with all of my shortcomings and encouraged me to keep being me. I did the same for him and out of this conspiracy, our bond grew stronger. It came to include a deep mutual respect of each other which included much squabbling over our differences, way too many raucous nights at the bar, sometimes ending with us delirious with laughter, sometimes yelling obscenities at each other, depending on wether we felt someone deserved a verbal spanking that day or not.
With the passing years, our conspiracy turned into solidarity. A solidarity that saw us through many trials. He had my back and I had his. It was as simple as that. We never shook on it. No pinky swears. It was just a fact that we both knew.
He was my pilot and I was his wingwalker. He was my long haired, tie dyed t shirt wearing hippie. I was his overbearing package of TNT.
Marcus proudly proclaimed to the world that we would get along just fine as long as he had more a$$ than I had teeth for chewing it off. He never did run out of a$$. In the end, he just ran out of time.
To know Marcus was an impossibility. He had so many different facets, interests and experiences. His true talent laid exactly in his ability to relate to others through his wealth of interests. He could connect with almost anyone because he had a real desire to know people and he took an intense interest in them and what they had to offer. He made connections the world over with the most unlikely individuals because he had an authentic appetite to love and to discover his fellow brothers and sisters of the world.
He was raucous. He was charming. He was brutally authentic. He was outspoken and well spoken. He never hesitated to champion a worthy cause or call BS when he saw it. He was my friend, my buddy and my favourite if only accomplice. I will be less without him by my side.
You need not ask yourself what Marcus would do, you need only ask yourself what a free man would do because Marcus epitomized the true essence of a free man. He dared to live life and to live it large.
I can’t bring myself to say goodby to my dear friend. Some day I will but today just ain’t that day.