Dad once blamed me for the break up of his and mum's marriage. My problems at school put too much stress on their relationship, he said. When I argued that perhaps his affairs played a bigger role in the marriage's collapse, he'd give me a smack.
The suspensions brought shame on the family and Dad lost several jobs because of having to take time off to go down to the school to see the head and cut all manner of deals to keep me in school.
But I had good reason to misbehave. His and mum's regular visits to the school were the only times he ever took her out. I thought some quality time together might give their faltering marriage a second wind. In fact, after the love potion I'd bought from a fairground stall on Clapham Common had failed to have the desired effect on my dad [I'd snuck two spoonfuls in his tea and he developed a urine infection], I was pretty certain these trips to see the head represented the only chance of saving their marriage.
Dad'd be pacing up and down at home, tapping his watch impatiently as the latest meeting loomed, "Come on, we need to get going now," while mum would be looking in the mirror putting her lippy on.
It didn't work. I managed to hang on at school, but just got the one GCSE. Mum and dad divorced not long after.