Consider Hemingway’s 6 word story:
Baby shoes. Never worn.
Look beyond the explicit, what do the words imply? How do they make us feel?
Words to a writer are the foundation of suggestion. Enough blocks are placed that the shape is implied, though not quite complete. We fill the gaps with snippets of our imagination, we make the story our own.
Imagination is unique, a construct of individual experience. We look within for meaning and then project it back on the words. We experience the narrative as an extension of ourselves, the protagonist is us in a different circumstance.
A story has as many connotations as it does readers. The story becomes our story.