How can love be so heartless?
For a Pennsylvania couple, the best and worst of times came on the same day while vacationing last month on Hilton Head Island.
It started so magically. They were watching the sunrise on the beach in Palmetto Dunes Resort when he proposed to her.
She said "yes" as the shimmering ball of orange cast its reflection across the Atlantic Ocean.
Julie Pfromm and Jeff Walter had been dating for six years, so she knew it was coming. She just didn't know when.
As a symbol of his love, Jeff gave Julie a cushion-cut solitaire diamond on a white gold band.
Five hours later, the ring was lost.
And a month later, a classified ad still rang with the drama of a tragic play:
"Lost Engagement Ring 7/9 -- Same day as sunrise proposal lost ring at Sea Pines Shops or marina parking lot. Heartbroken. 570-854-9501."
Julie believes the ring fell out of the car in a gravel parking lot near Harbour Town or the parking lot at the Shops at Sea Pines Center. Every inch was scoured time and again. Authorities were notified. Potential refunds were discussed with an insurance company, the jeweler and the credit card company, but so far it's a total loss.
We've seen this before on Hilton Head, where love seems to linger like the Spanish moss, and weddings are a cottage industry.
Once, restaurant workers pried up a board on a beachfront deck to rescue a diamond ring that had slipped through the cracks.
One time two plumbers spent all day poking a camera in an 8-inch sewer main looking for an engagement ring. A bride-to-be had wrapped her ring in tissue for safekeeping while she took a shower. Then one of her friends used the tissue to kill a spider, and flushed the tissue, spider and ring down the toilet.
Only in the Lowcountry.
But how do you go from a heart singing to a heart breaking?
After Julie and Jeff were engaged at daybreak, they climbed the Harbour Town Lighthouse and took snapshots. They watched his 3-year-old nephew find joy the way so many other children have: tackling the Harbour Town playground and getting ice cream.
And then suddenly everything went frantic.
In a way, the painful story in the classified ad is a better symbol of what marriage is all about than the finest ring could ever be. Things went from better to worse, from richer to poorer, and yet the sun still rises.
"We just said, you have to move on," said Julie. "We're still getting married. We still have each other."
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.