Le mot du jour “a whatnot”. On emploie ce mot pour parler de quelqu’un dont on ne connaît pas le nom ou dont on ignore volontairement le nom. Alphonsine est fâchée contre Antoinette qui fait semblant de ne pas comprendre de quoi elle parle et, ici, on pourrait traduire en Français par “l’autre vieille, là”.
After a while Alphonsine could bear it no longer.
“Where is he?”
“Don’t know who you’re talking about.”
The old whatnot was pretending not to understand. She’d known it was going to be like that. Alphonsine managed not to get irritated and said the words she knew would soften Antoinette.
“Luc, your Luc.”
“Gone where? Come on, you can’t keep me in the dark like this.”
“Yes I can, you’re just an old busybody!”
With this, Antoinette bent over her work again. But only a few minutes passed by before she could no longer resist the temptation to tell her story.
“He decided to go to the address on the card.”
“He didn’t! But then again it was to be expected, wasn’t it, Toinette?”
“We even said that’s what he’d do.”
“It was the obvious thing to do: he wanted to see his mother. I mean his biological mother, as they say, because you can’t call someone like that a real mother. When I think it was you who heard him crying, a tiny, new-born baby. Tell me how it happened.”
“I’ve already told you that story a hundred times,” replied Antoinette who was longing to tell it again.
“Well tell me again.”
“Oh alright, if you insist. It was getting dark and I went out to feed the rabbits. We used to have rabbits. My Raymond used to cut grass for them during the day, or go and fetch their straw, he used to bring back a little bundle on his bike, he did, it was in the days when my Raymond was still alive…”
“Yes, I remember your husband, he died soon after I got here. A lovely man. That was a long time ago.”
“You can say that again, Alphonsine, it was a long time ago.”
“So. You’d got as far as the rabbits.”
“I know I’d got as far as the rabbits. So out I’d gone to feed the rabbits, when I heard this funny little noise. I said to myself there’s a poor cat stuck in that house because it sounded like miaowing. And it wouldn’t have surprised me to find a cat had been left in there because the people who lived in that house before you, they were a bit odd. Not that I’d be the one to complain about the neighbours mind you, it takes all sorts, but that chap was a bit of a hippy, big fella with long hair.”
“No! Long hair? A man? He must’ve been, y’know, what d’you call it, homosexual?”