Another new author for me to experience via this issue of The Quarterly. Cezarija Abartis' story is "Listening to Stravinsky" and it's just a shade under 14 pages long. Lish didn't seem to have any sort of specifications for length of story in these early issues of the journal.
The story begins:
Last month they cut down three full-grown elms on our street. It took an hour and a half, and with ordinary brooms, they swept the twigs toward the tall, boxlike orange truck with its funneled chute angled into a huge engine that sucked in every last leaf and stick and mulched them. A half hour per tree. On the door of the truck was lettered the name of the manufacturer, WHISPER CHIPPER.
We're a full page into the story, going from that chipper to how shopping malls aren't safe, to finally getting to something specific about the narrator--that things are also not good between her and Perry, her husband. And there's something to this long opening that is foreshadowing the ending.
We soon find out that the thing that is not good between them is that she's fallen in love with a man 15 years her senior, her former college professor (classes taken post-marriage), Dr. Valentine O'Neill (or Val, as most refer to him). And Val's married, and his wife has multiple sclerosis. So, even if he were the type that would leave his wife, he wasn't the type to leave his wife with multiple sclerosis. But, he IS the type that will have an affair.
So, much of the story is about that, the goings on between our narrator and Val and similar to the last story, there is a distance forced upon the reader. The level of emotion is muted by the writing. However, it fits in a way with the ending of the story:
So we make love. That is something. A person shouldn't wish for everything.
People should be happy with what they've got.
The idea expressed here in the ending are a means of muting emotions too.