Maybe you can relate to this: There are some people in this world I cannot imagine as children. And I don’t just mean the looks – to me it’s pretty hard to imagine how my grandfather LOOKED as a child. But: I definitely can imagine him BEING a child, running around in his Lederhosen, playing hide and seek with his friends, even if it’s in a kind of abstract way, because I cannot make up a mental picture of his face.
There are some people in my life, though, that are impossible to being thought of as kids. A., for example. A. always looked the way he looks today – every time he tells me about his being in school when he was a kid, I just imagine a smaller, 10 year old version of him, with all the features he has now – receding hair line, quite big teeth, glasses, wearing check shirts with a ballpoint pen stuck in the breast pocket, everything. I simply cannot see him running down a hill to guide a kite through the sky or learning how to cycle. In my mind, he has always been this fully responsible, übercorrect, rule-loving gentleman with a Swiss watch and next to no humor.
I call people like him Perpetual Grown-Ups. People without age, all we know about them is that they are grown-ups. They don’t have a childhood behind them and they don’t grow older. They are people we meet and probably spend some time with before we say Goodbye again. We don’t live with them, we don’t see them grow older or change. They are the people between strangers and friends. Some might call them acquaintances, but to me that doesn’t do it. Because even some of those I can imagine being children. The others are simply people who always have been grown-ups and always will be grown-ups: Perpetual Grown-Ups.