“Walking home you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is it’s owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there.? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all these questions or just one to explore what happened."
The shoe belongs to my friend Helen who did not come home last night. I found it in the Lantana beside the road where I saw Dave throw it last night. He does not know I saw him or that this morning I went out early and found the shoe or that I have called the police. Dave and Jennifer are a lovely couple who live just down the road from me. Helen is my friend who is staying with me temporarily because she suspects her husband is having an affair. The shoe is very distinctive; green top and brown base, almost like a small sandal type boot. So I know it is Helens.
When the police arrive I tell them the situation and they take Dave in for questioning. Dave has made a major error of judgement but he has not actually done anything like what he is now suspected of. Turns out he was seen in the rain late last night on the bush road picking up Helen where she had driven into a tree. So the police (and everyone else) want to know what he has done with her. Jennifer, Dave’s wife, is allowed into the police station to speak with him and comes out saying “he didn’t do anything”. How do you know he didn’t? she is asked and replies “Because he told me”.
This is the punch line of the movie Lantana. When I first saw the movie I did not really like it but later having to study it as part of my counselling course (there is a counsellor in it), found it interesting. Every couple in it have something wrong with them – affairs, suspicion of affairs, baggage from past events, etc, except for Jennifer and Dave. What they have is priceless. It is shown by the statement “because he told me.” Jennifer “knows” that Dave has done nothing wrong “because he told her”. This kind of total trust between partners is what makes a relationship soar. It is difficult to achieve but magical in effect.
Just to clarify what happened to Helen in the movie, when Dave unexpectedly turned off the main road onto a bush track to take a shortcut she panicked, jumped out, and ran. She panicked because she did not know Dave and 11 years ago her daughter had been raped and killed in similar circumstances. Dave stopped and followed her, calling out, but eventually gave up, and drove home. He should have called the police instead of throwing the shoe away but he didn’t. Next morning the search party found Helen at the bottom of a cliff where she had fallen whilst running in the dark. In the movie she was dead but in my story she is recovering in hospital because she is my friend.