Dan Buri Day 4

This week we have the pleasure to explore Dan Buri’s new
book—Pieces Like Pottery. Today we have an excerpt from the short story "The
Gravesite" published in Pieces Like Pottery.

The headstone nearly glistened in the early afternoon sun. A nondescript
sandstone memoriam flat against the earth marked her son’s resting place. Her gaze
alternated between the gravesite at her feet and the pathway that led there.
Gravestones stretched in all directions. It felt as if every person in the entire state must
know at least one person who was buried here. Some probably knew more than one.
Seven degrees of death.

“I wonder how many people are visiting their own child,” she thought.

Every cliché in the book applies when a parent loses their child. Things never
return to the way they were after the death of a child. A parent should never have to
outlive their children, should never have to watch them lowered into the ground.
Losing a child is like losing your soul; even though you may continue to live on the
outside, on the inside you’re dying. Every one of these applied, and it didn’t even
begin to reveal the pain and the loss of hope she felt.

Lisa looked in agitation up the path towards the parking lot. She glanced at her
watch again and sighed.

“Figures,” she muttered under her breath.

“Hello, Lisa,” came the unexpected reply from behind her. “Good to see you.”

The man smiled at her kindly as she spun around startled. “He must have
heard me grumbling,” she thought. Lisa felt terrible for falling into old habits with this
man—worrying, watching, waiting, and then grumbling about it all. Some habits die
hard though, especially when it’s someone with whom you’ve spent decades.

“You too,” she replied sheepishly.

She couldn’t formulate any words beyond that. The words lodged in her chest,
so she just exhaled at the ground. He stood next to her and focused on his breathing.
Side-by-side they stared at the ground as he put his arm around her shoulder.
Squeezing her tight for just a moment, he kissed the top of her head. The sign of
love—no, care—felt nice to Lisa. She pretended she was indestructible, but she had
long since realized that she is far from it. She had been lost inside. She felt alone.

“Did you see the most recent blog post?” Mike asked.

“I haven’t had a chance to look today.”

“It was there when I checked this morning before driving to see you.” Lisa
immediately knew that this was the reason Mike was a little late. She again felt bad
for grumbling at him a moment ago. She often felt bad for their marriage, their former
marriage, and what it had become.

Mike reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. Slowly he
unfolded it and aimlessly looking at the words on the page, he handed it to Lisa. She
took the paper from Mike’s hands and began to read.

“Well you build it up you wreck it down, and you burn your mansion to
the ground. When there's nothing left to keep you here, when you're
falling behind in this big blue world.”

May 24th

As I sit here preparing for a twenty-mile trip that’ll take an hour and a half
because of traffic, I’m struck by how much the little things are what make up a
man’s life. Each event that happens and each reaction a man has to an event
influence the course of his life. So many people get upset because they are
delayed ten minutes by traffic, or because they don’t like what food was
prepared for them, or they don’t like the work assignment they were given, or
countless other things that people worry about. So many people wish they
were somewhere else doing something else, but they miss what life is really
about. As the Wizard of Westwood would say, “Things turn out best for those
who make the best out of the way things turn out.”
Life’s circumstances are always throwing twists and turns. Wishing for
something more only brings continual disappointment. Each person has the
ability to control their happiness by controlling how they think about each day
and each event. Every situation turns out sour for those who are always
complaining about how things turn out. We will always be affected by our
own attitudes. Every response to every action affects our character.
It’s like a rock that is constantly being dripped on. The water is not pouring
out; it’s just a constant drip. Drip. Drip. Over time that water will leave its
mark. The rock will corrode from the constant impact of the water. Each
decision we make is like that water. How we respond to life’s twists and turns
impacts our life as forcefully as the water impacts the rock. The decision may
not be visible in a man’s character in a week, a month, or even a year, but his
decisions change him over time. The impact can either have a corrosive effect
on the man’s character, like the rock under the drip, drip, drip; or the impact
can have a smooth, even effect like a stone washed from years of salty ocean

So as I am stuck in traffic that’s moving slower than I can walk, I realize that
how I react to unforeseen problems, what I do each moment, and what I even
spend my time thinking about, all greatly impact my character and my life’s
direction. Life’s simple moments are not unimportant and wasted. They are
the foundations that shape our lives. They are the formational moments, one
added upon another. They are far more important than the seemingly
substantial and notable moments in life that are more the finishing touches of
life than they are formational moments. At least that’s how I see things. But
what do I know? One thing’s for sure, I guess—it’s finished. That’s all I have
to say. Thanks for reading.
Lisa wiped a tear from her eyes. She shook her head with amazement and
disappointment. Amazement in the idealism her son has…had. Disappointment in
knowing this was the end. She grabbed Mike’s outstretched hand and squeezed as
they focused on their son’s gravestone at their feet.
Excerpt from the short story "The Gravesite" published in Pieces Like Pottery.

Author Bio

Dan Buri's first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of
heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. His
writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the
human search for meaning in life.
Mr. Buri's non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including
publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and
TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-
Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.
Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by
Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World's Top 300 Intellectual Property
Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old



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