By ending the story with both characters being physically distant from one another Mason may be symbolically highlighting the realities of the situation.
Instead of playing her organ, she writes a paper about music. From this perspective, the two seem to overlap, to the degree to which the former becomes the latter. But in the end, does anyone win? She no longer knows who Leroy is. Leroy and Norma Jean had a child before but died due to Sudden Death Infant Syndrome while the couple was at a drive-in theater.
As creative as these literary critics might be with their catchy labels, we here at Shmoop generally consider Mason to be a minimalist because, like other authors who came to prominence in the s and s, she uses a stripped-down writing style, focusing on surface details and themes of loss and alienation.
The sky reminds Leroy of the dust ruffle that Mabel gave them.
Cheerful stuff, right?