River E. Wyles is a main character in To the Moon. She is Johnny's wife who passed away prior to the events of the game. She had an autism spectrum disorder previously known as Asperger's syndrome. (Asperger's Syndrome is no longer considered a specific disorder and has been absorbed into the Autism Spectrum)
River's personal life is unknown due to her story in To the Moon being told from Johnny's perspective. Thus, the following sections only describe her history with Johnny.
The carnival meeting
River first met Johnny in the woods outside a local carnival when they were children. The two stargazed and created a rabbit constellation using the moon as the rabbit's belly. River told Johnny that she'd always thought the stars were lonely lighthouses that were too far apart to communicate, and all they could do was merely shine their lights towards one another. When they heard Johnny's mother looking for him, the two agreed to meet again there the next year, and declared that they would reunite on the moon if they ever lost each other. Before leaving, Johnny gave River a stuffed platypus toy, something she would go on to form a great attachment to, as well as a hacky sack.
Unfortunately, Johnny later forgot his meeting with River after being prescribed a form of beta-blockers that effectively wiped out many of his memories from his early childhood. The two wouldn't see each other again until their adolescent years.
Relationship with Johnny
Years later, the two happened to go to the same high school. River had difficulties expressing herself and communicating with people, and she was regarded as odd and an outcast by most of her fellow students (later in life, she would be diagnosed with Asperger syndrome). Johnny, however, thought that her weirdness was attractive. With his best friend Nicholas' support, Johnny asked River out on a date and they began a relationship together.
The two eventually went on to become married as they grew up. Their wedding took place near a lighthouse. Since lighthouses held an immense sentimental value for River, she quickly became attached to it. She named the lighthouse "Anya", and they continued to visit the place long after they were married.
One night on the cliff overlooking the lighthouse, Johnny confessed to River that the reason he'd asked her out at high school was merely because he'd wanted someone who stood out from the others. River didn't react until Johnny referred to it as their first meeting. Surprised, she handed him the hacky sack he'd given her in their true first meeting at the carnival, and asked him if he would throw it "as far as Anya's at". She was shocked as Johnny heeded her request and threw it away like it was nothing, and at that moment she truly realized that Johnny didn't remember their first meeting at all.
As her Asperger's made it difficult for her to remind Johnny of his childhood through direct conversation, River attempted to do it by folding copious amounts of paper rabbits, which were supposed to represent the constellation they'd made together. She also cut her hair the way she'd worn it back then. However, it failed to provoke anything out of Johnny. She continued to fold the origami rabbits day in and day out every single day the rest of her life, although it would be in vain.
The cliff house
Time passed, and late into their adulthood, Johnny told River that they would be able to save up enough to build a house near the lighthouse. River was thrilled to be able to watch over Anya every single day. During its construction, however, River would be diagnosed with a late stage terminal illness. Due to their financial limitations, Johnny became conflicted over whether he should finish building the house or redirect the money to River's treatment instead.
Johnny lied to her that they will have just enough money for both, but River knew they won't. She refused the medication and wishes that Johnny would spend the money on the construction. She then gave Johnny a different paper rabbit than she usually folds: it was colored blue for the head and legs while the torso was yellow, resembling the constellation they'd made when they first met. But unfortunately for her, Johnny was unable to remember, and even after her death, he would never understand why she'd gone to lengths folding those rabbits.
She was buried in front of the lighthouse. Johnny would then complete the house's construction, as she'd wished, and live there alone, until he eventually hired Lily as his caretaker. When he dies at the end of To the Moon, he is buried right next to his wife.
River is a fair-skinned woman with vibrant orange hair and green eyes. She often wears blue and white clothing, though she is sometimes seen wearing purple and white. Her hair was short as a child, but she wore it long throughout her teenage years and adulthood. As she approached old age, she cut her hair short again when she had to remind Johnny about their first meeting.
River is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder which inhibits social maturity. As someone with the condition, she has significant difficulty conversing with others, pausing frequently before she speaks and answering questions either very briefly or very lengthily. She also tends to interpret language in a literal way. This is evident when Johnny asked her to catch a movie together - she thought that just being in the same room watching the same movie counts as watching it “together”. Her condition also limits her ability to express her emotions in a way that people would understand. Her paper rabbits are a prime example of that, as well as her lighthouse metaphor of isolation which she elaborated to Johnny when they stargazed outside the carnival. She is also exceptionally skilled at remembering the contents of books. One example is in her classroom, when the teacher asked a history question - she answered verbosely and the teacher had to stop her.
Another effect of the condition is her restricted interests. Ever since she acquired the platypus toy from Johnny, never once is she seen without it. Her sentimental fascination towards lighthouses also persists throughout her life, and she even went as far as refusing treatment when she was terminally ill so Johnny could finish building a house next to one.
- Main article: John Wyles
Johnny was River's husband and the love of her life. The two first met as kids, wanting to escape the noise and crowds of a local carnival. Together, the two stargazed and created a rabbit constellation. Before leaving, Johnny gifted River a stuffed toy platypus, an item she would cherish for the rest of her life. The two agreed to meet up next year at the carnival, but due to beta-blockers, Johnny forgot about ever meeting River. River, however, did not forget and waited patiently every year for Johnny to return.
The two met again in middle school, with Johnny forming a crush on River and asking her out on a movie date. The two remained close into their adult years, in which they married. Throughout the marriage, River made subtle attempts to jog Johnny's memory and make him remember their first meeting. One way she would do this was by crafting countless paper rabbits, referencing the constellation they created together as kids. Ultimately, Johnny would never end up remembering their first encounter, much to River's sadness.
In their older age, River requested for Johnny to build a house near her favorite lighthouse, Anya. At the same time, River was diagnosed with a late-stage terminal illness. The cost of building the house would mean River would be unable to receive treatment, but she insisted the house be built anyways. She would eventually pass away, with Johnny being devastated by her death. Her death ultimately triggered a subconscious desire deep in Johnny's brain to go to the moon so that he could see her again.
- Main article: Colin Reeds
As revealed in the spin-off comic Paper Memories, River and Colin were actually classmates and were seated next to each other for some time. Though initially silent towards Colin as a result of her disability, the two would form a brief friendship over their shared love of origami. Colin gifted River a book on origami so that she could continue to practice at home. Eventually, a seat change would separate the two. One day while hanging out with Faye, a paper airplane struck Colin on his head. It's revealed after that River actually crafted the airplane and launched it from her window, having mastered origami thanks to Colin's book.