After having been accomplices in “Télématin”, a turn of fate transformed them into a totally unexpected romantic duo.
The “young people” just have to watch out. Advances in medicine not only gave their grandparents and great-grandparents a spectacular fitness boost, but they also gave them an incredible ability to reinvent their lives. “If youth knew, if old age could”, we were still sorry not long ago. Many boomers now prove the proverb wrong, and not only in terms of physical vigor and intellectual vivacity. Mourning, sentimental catastrophe? For a few months, we believe them – and they believe themselves – broken forever, having no taste for anything, especially not love, and then one fine morning, against all odds, they get up again.
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Like the reed of the fable, they have only bent under the evil wind of misfortune, and now they are recovering. Still battered, that’s for sure, but suddenly reinvigorated by the vital impetus needed to reinvent a destiny. This renewed energy generally finds its source in an identical observation: the extension of the duration of life is a unique gift in the history of humanity. But what to do with it? As soon as the question is asked, the field of possibilities opens up.
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The boomer is surprised to cherish projects and his most frequent dream is to come across another senior who is in the same state of mind and share with him the good years that remain to them. Not won in advance but it happens that it works beyond what we hoped, embellished lovers who intrigue loved ones and families as much as they fascinate them. What is their secret? A sudden feeling of freedom that makes possible what, decades earlier, would have seemed absurd or completely extravagant? A common desire to ward off loneliness? Or the unlikely discovery of a soul mate, an incredible stroke of luck?
Before Sophie, William no longer saw the colors of life, thanks to her he found them
Each romance is unique but, in the stories of these sixties or septuagenarians who find from one day to another the fervor of their adolescence, constants emerge, very curiously similar regardless of age or social status. Unknown or famous, such as recently William Leymergie and Sophie Davant, they describe the same emotions, and the first of them is that the days may pass but they cannot believe this loving resurrection. Sophie Davant, 59, and William Leymergie, 75, still stunned by what is happening to them, a divine surprise they would never have imagined. Like all those of their age, they are also very moved by remembering the abyssal void that preceded these magical moments: each on their own, they no longer knew what to do with their existence. Something happened that overwhelmed them, and led them from one day to the next to discover an area they did not suspect.
The most singular thing about their story – but in truth, the phenomenon is quite frequent – is that Sophie Davant and William Leymergie did not seek a reunion: they had known each other for thirty-five years and even if their friendship had lasted , it had become essentially telephonic and, by their own admission, only appeared in dotted lines. So no better sample than them if you want to understand this last quarter of existence where everything changes when fate seems definitively sealed and the future darkened forever. William, until the day in 2021 when he finds Sophie, still sees her, despite the years, as the young trainee who had landed at the end of the 1980s on the set of “Télématin”. The lump in the stomach but endowed with such niaque that he had decided to become his Pygmalion. Years of learning and complicity until she decided, at the dawn of the 2000s, to strike out on her own.
Sophie continued to admire the great pro of the profession who had led her the hard way but whose humor had also greatly delighted her, which had led William, an extremely rare favor, to admit her into his family circle. An anecdote alone sums up their relationship: Sophie, before marrying Pierre Sled, who was her husband for a long time, had felt the need to present him to her, as if she could not wed without having his blessing… The newlyweds then bought in Normandy a country house very close to that of the Leymergies and, from then on, despite the fifteen years which separated them, the two couples had shared almost everything, weekends, children’s games, holidays, projects professionals, bad days and great hopes. Then, sadly banal, Sophie and Pierre chose different paths and the ordeals followed: divorce, sale of the Norman house, new risky love affairs. At the dawn of her fifties, Sophie had found herself alone and forced to lead everything at the same time, work, children, private life more and more shaky. Such a challenge had hardly left him time to maintain the friendship that once united him to William and his wife.
Their reciprocal affection had not changed, but the bond had loosened. Sophie and he do not lose sight of each other, but we are not far from it: she confines herself to calling him from time to time to give him news and ask him for advice. He willingly lavishes them on her, but a bit as a dilettante because he too has changed. Finished France2 and “Télématin”, he now officiates on C8 and Europe1. In 2020, at the age of 73, when he is a grandfather several times, his existence is more than ever moored to the one who has never ceased to be the pillar of his professional and private life, his wife Maryline. It is counting without the force of the “whirlwind of life”, to use the words of the song by Jeanne Moreau.
When he tells her he likes her, she thinks it’s a joke… like on TV!
At the precise moment, June 2020, when the future seems definitively written, the unthinkable happens: William, one morning, wakes up without finding his wife by his side. He looks for her all over their house and eventually finds her. She is unconscious and the damage from the heart attack is such that any attempt at resuscitation is doomed to failure. In a series of Netflix, we would of course see Sophie running up in the moment and playing the comforters. But life is trickier and far less predictable than fiction. When Sophie hears the news, she is very far from Paris, it is her first day of vacation and she is not alone. However, having seen her mother die the year of her 20th birthday, she imagines the rest. She is all the more lucid that she knows William well: he will not want to confide. What to do? Once back home, she chooses to call him from time to time, just to let him know that he can count on her. He doesn’t grab the pole. Neither of his children manages to tear him away from his pain.
One day, exhausted, one of them asks Sophie to invite him to her house for a weekend. She is convinced that he will refuse. Miracle, he accepts. When the day comes, she discovers a strangely absent man, and in turn, she despairs. Despite everything, she tries to cheer him up, finds the tone and the codes of their “deconnades” of the “Télématin” era. Immediately, to his great surprise, he becomes himself again. She ventures to offer him to come back. Twice, three times, William spends a weekend at her house, although he has always hated sleeping with people. But Sophie, it was different, it wasn’t “the people”. So much so that on the third weekend he spontaneously resumed clowning around. Beginning of return to life. He compares this rebirth to a cataract operation: there was like a veil between him and existence. Everything was grey, dark, he no longer saw the colors of life. And suddenly, thanks to Sophie, he found them.
During these three weekends, he also discovers a woman he did not know: a 59-year-old mother who continues to lead her life and her career. Both surprised and amused by the spectacle of her maturity, he observes, disconcerted, this new Sophie who was no longer the little Sophie of “Télématin”, but a woman who no longer expected anyone. The proof: she had adopted a dog!
And then one day, they realized that they liked spending their weekends together. But nothing more. They had absolutely no plans for the future. Despite everything, as in so many analogous stories, a link of an unprecedented nature has been tied without their knowledge, indefinable but strong enough so that the day Sophie goes on vacation without telling him, William takes umbrage.
When he returns, he invites her to dinner. What does he tell her? She understands, in any case, that he likes her. As a result, she refuses to take him seriously. She believes in one more joke, burst out laughing. He doesn’t laugh. As often after the event, it is in this gravity that everything begins. For him as for her, another life starts and, simultaneously, it is the life which restarts. In full awareness, however, that nothing will abolish the past: what has been is.
To evoke this singular shift, the two boomers invoke the sentence that Montand had after the death of Signoret: “We don’t remake our life. We continue it, that’s all. The secret, they say, is to accept all possibilities. Live together, or not, they don’t know yet: it will happen or it won’t, for the moment, they only meet for weekends and holidays. And for the rest, admit that we will not replace those who have left, make their experiences an asset and not a source of fear, ward off the concerns of the profession together, rediscover the taste for the “disconcerns” of their youth, the passion journeys that remain to be made and, like teenagers, a number of shared curiosities, cinema, theater, concerts. Finally, in everything they do, instilling what allows, at every moment, to still be surprised: a zest of imagination. So the future, in all this? With the virtues of tenderness, the senior lovebirds have discovered those of wisdom: the present!