My fiancé is going to be upset. She’s still asleep, it’s our last day before returning to work after a pleasant winter vacation, so she’s allowed one last day to hibernate.

For the past six months she’s had someone special in her life. A man who is home at 6pm. A man who takes her out to dinner, watches movies, listens to her prattle on about her day. She’s had someone there to laugh when she laughs, frown when she cries, and sometimes laugh when she cries. He’ll do the dishes. He’ll take out the trash. Every now and again he’ll cuddle with her on the couch without rolling his eyes. She’s been happy. She’s going to be upset.

The NHL lockout is over, she’ll be told. Hockey is back. The Los Angeles Kings will take the ice once more. Millions across the country are overjoyed. Thousands are staring at calendars. Traffic to Puck Daddy’s twitter surges and like the belief that brought back Tinkerbell, page hits breath life. For so many, a missing half is found and the whole is made new. The void gone. Excitement returned.

My fiancé will feel robbed.

Her special someone won’t be home at 6pm anymore. More like 11. She’ll eat alone, watch TV with the cat and talk to a wall. The laughs echoing back at her will be her own, her tears will fall to the cold floor. The dishes will pile up, the trash will linger. And when she is all ready for bed, he will step into the room. Disheveled, the beer and greasy food on his breath a given, his mood impossible to predict (because let’s face it, she ain’t watching Fox Sports West on her own time). When he emerges from the shadow and his face is revealed to hold a goofy grin or a sour scowl, her peace is over regardless.

She’ll spend the next 30 minutes listening to a retelling of the game. Lots of curse words, perhaps a re-enactment or two of the chants. She’ll listen and wonder “why do I love this man? This ridiculous, obnoxious man? He gives me so much, only to take it away when the crowd calls. And yet, when he comes back, all is forgiven? I’m supposed to smile and love him as I loved him before, because that is what a good pet does. No, not a pet. Spouse. Yeah, spouse sounds better.”

My fiancé will think this to herself. What she won’t think is that he could feel the same way.

He gets up and he checks the web. He argues with avatars, the people in front of him come second. He whiles away the day hoping he’ll get off in time, that traffic won’t be so bad. He’ll drive, he’ll chew on his nails and he’ll pay $8 for the privilege of his car taking up a tiny bit of Phillip Anschutz’s space.

The arena always smell the same, like cleaning products, the lint on money and ambrosia of sweat, unwashed polyester and AXE body spray. There will be a little chill, not because of the ice, but because its January in Los Angeles which means Fall is finally here. He’ll spend his hard earned cash on beer that will probably be more expensive than it was the last time he bought it. He’ll laugh with friends he should have seen more without the pretense of a game. He’ll cheer for the players, curse at the refs, high-five his neighbors and belittle the poor schmuck in front of him wearing the other team’s threads. And at the end of the game he’ll feel satisfied, for a little while. He knows tomorrow he’ll forget all about satisfied.

On the drive home with people on the radio who are more interesting to hear than they are to talk to, he’ll listen and wonder “Why do I love this league? This ridiculous, obnoxious league? It gives me so much, only to take it away when the dollar calls. And when it comes back, all is forgiven? I’m suppose to yell and scream and love it as I loved it before, because that is what a good pet does.”

No, not a pet. A fan.

Yeah, fan sounds better.

My fiancé is going to be upset. She’s been living the good life.

I am upset, because I’m going take it all away.

Hockey is back, and so is Surly.