First published in THE NEW YORKER in 1950, this is the story of a GI near the end of the war who meets a precocious young girl and her precocious brother in a restaurant after observing them at choir practice. He has an engaging conversation with her, finally promising to write a story for her. The second scene is the story he writes and the squalor is the shell shock he is experiencing as the war winds down. He receives a letter from her and enclosed is her dead father's watch, the face broken in transit.
This one is collected in NINE STORIES. Literary writers today aren't as easy to read as the ones of an earlier generation: i.e. Updike, Cheever, Mailer, Bellow, McCuller, Cather, etc. Their style of writing did not call as much attention to itself and the point was usually fairly discernible. At least to me. What do you think?