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He arrives with a “friend request,” the typical gesture of friendship on Facebook. Except that, in an uncommon occurrence, you share no mutual friends. The stranger from the Web immediately emits vibes that connect with you.

He seems to speak your language without ever having exchanged a private word. On his page, posts of pictures with captions charm you. His sensitivity mirrors your own. You feel it without needing to voice it, like an unspoken truth. He often likes the articles you post, your passions as well as your rants. To you, this stranger from the Web embodies the free West to which you belong, while paradoxically being imprisoned in the Land of the Cedar. Culture, sensitivity, and finesse in his words, what emanates from him appeals to your intellect.

The stranger from the Web crafts delicately. Nothing mundane or deja vu. He has a keen eye that sees beyond the visible: in 3D. It is this dimension that rises above everything else that you appreciate. And above all, the silence. To mingle in this vast pixelated lounge, liking each other’s posts without much commenting. A few words here, a few there, no more. A presence that reassures. A presence that comforts. The stranger from the Web possesses an elegance that many lack: not indulging in the bombastic tirades that web-addicted males frequently overuse. No compliments, no inappropriate words. A restraint that suits him like a glove. No showiness. A discretion bordering on the mysterious. One evening, after several months of public friendship on the walls, he sends you a private message just after you posted a status which you quickly erased because it was too impulsive and revealing of unease that, deep down, you did not want to share with nearly 1400 “friends” on Facebook.

The stranger from the Web had indeed detected your pain: the apparent as well as the real. He reached out – hardly believing it himself – to a multifaceted pain whose gaping chasms are difficult to fill. His words touch you deeply. You exchange a few lines about the boiling Middle East and the threat of borderless terrorist warfare. He sends you an article on your current obsession: ISIS, this barbaric tumor composed of brainless head cutters, morbid fans of a return to the Middle Ages after a man has walked on the Moon. Fanatics blinded by hatred for others. The article is long and biased, but excellent. And then you both fall back into the silent presence mode.

You enjoy taking a small break on his page since Facebook visits are often impromptu and without the presence of the hosts. The coffee is automatically served. And you discover small photographic masterpieces imbued with poetry, which catch your (and his) attention. You wonder what he does for a living. Nothing on his profile indicates this. You already intuitively guess that you share common passions: writing and photography. And as the tattletale Google doesn’t hesitate to compete with the CIA, you type his name into the search engine. And the answers come to confirm what you perceived: the stranger from the Web is a lover of words and photography.

Suddenly, you feel the urge to meet him for coffee, if only to break down the virtual walls and depixelize your friendship. In fact, you plan to tell him soon, in order to arrange a meeting during a future trip, in the real world: the world of real life. However, the stranger from the Web is quite well known by it. And his low-profile nature once again proves to you that gentlemen are not an endangered species. He is a (beautiful) living proof of this. Until the test of reality.

Illustrated by Benoït Debbané